Economy & Business

At least 5 R.I. banks to offer low-interest loans via Main Street Lending Program

PROVIDENCE – Five banks with locations in Rhode Island have confirmed to Providence Business News that they will participate in the Main Street Lending Program.

The $600 billion program launched by the Federal Reserve aims to help small to medium-sized businesses through low-interest loans of at least $250,000. Unlike the federal Paycheck Protection Program, these funds are not forgivable, but they can be used for a wider range of expenses than just payroll costs.

Since opening the portal for lenders to register earlier this month, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston reported more than 200 banks, credit unions and other eligible financial institutions have signed up. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has not yet released a list of registered lenders, but it expects to provide more information as more lenders sign up, according to a spokeswoman. Providence Business News reached out to the top 10 banks in Rhode Island by share of deposits to find out which will participate.

Those who have signed up or are planning to include Bank of America Corp., TD Bank, Santander Bank, Citizens Bank and Webster Bank, according to spokespeople for each of the companies. Two other community banks, Centreville Bank and The Washington Trust Co., are still deciding whether to participate ahead of the opening of applications to eligible businesses.

BankNewport, however, has already decided not to opt in, explaining in a statement that “We [the bank] evaluated the program and did not think it would be an attractive program for the majority of our business customers. We feel there are better programs, primarily offered by the [U.S.] Small Business [Administration], that would be a better fit for our typical customer.”

Other banks did not return inquiries from Providence Business News. The Rhode Island Bankers Association also did not have information on which of its members would be participating.

Nancy Lavin is a staff writer for PBN. Contact her at [email protected]

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