After weeks of lobbying, fintech companies are officially allowed to take part in the U.S. government's emergency lending program.
PayPal and Intuit QuickBooks announced Friday evening that they were approved by the Small Business Administration to take part in the Paycheck Protection Program. The emergency government loans are meant to help small businesses survive the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
"This is a race to save jobs in the present and for the future," PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said in a press release. "We are eager to deploy our capital and expertise to do our part in helping small businesses survive this challenging period."
In addition to acting as a direct lender, Intuit QuickBooks said it would process payroll information, which small businesses need to provide to lenders in order to get approved.
The U.S. government had asked banks to help it distribute at least $350 billion in loans to small businesses as part of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill.
For weeks, tech-focused lenders had been pushing to be included in that stimulus plan. Financial Innovation Now — an industry group representing Square, PayPal, Intuit, Stripe and other non-bank finance companies — sent a letter to Congress in March asking that their members be included in any emergency funding.
"Small businesses are not well served by traditional financial institutions, nor will existing federal small business loan programs deliver funds soon enough," the letter reads. "Any federal small business loan program must leverage digital advances in the marketplace to ensure that stimulus can reach those business most in need."
Tech companies, including Square and Amazon, have become popular options for small businesses to get access to capital. PayPal said it has provided access to more than 900,000 loans and cash advances, and access to more than $15 billion in funding to more than 305,000 small businesses.