Disaster Preparedness Economy Finance

Who were the biggest PPP lenders for South Florida companies? Here’s what the data tells us

As Congress continues to debate the Bipartisan Emergency COVID Relief Act of 2020 – what stays in and what doesn’t – the Paycheck Protection Program is widely expected to be part of it.

The PPP, an SBA forgivable loan program through partnering lenders, will likely look a little different when it re-emerges. Changes under debate could include allowance of receiving a second PPP loan, tweaks in the way businesses can spend the funds, loan simplification for those borrowing $150,000 or less, simpler forgiveness requirements, and larger funding set-asides for disadvantaged communities. The new COVID Relief Act could also extend the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and the Employee Retention Tax Credit, both set to expire on Dec. 31. Notably, the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program is set to end at the end of the year as well.

With the PPP set to make a comeback, it is instructive to know which banks were the most active lenders in South Florida.


The top two lenders were a national giant and a Florida community bank.  Collectively, lenders approved $12.4 billion through the federal aid program for businesses based in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

According to an analysis by the South Florida Business Journal based on SBA data, Bank of America, the largest holder of bank deposits in South Florida was also the most active for PPPs. The bank approved  more than $1.4 billion in loans for about 202,000 businesses in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. The average loan size: $50,833. This information is instructive because small businesses were reporting anecdotally more success going to small community-focused lending institutions for funding.

But Miami-based City National Bank of Florida, the state’s largest community bank, came in just behind, doling out over $1.2 billion in PPP loans to South Florida companies, and the average loan size was much higher: $172,022.

City National was also the most active lender in South Florida’s hard-hit food and beverage industry. The bank approved $98.8 million in PPP funds, according to the SFBJ’s research. The F&B category includes restaurants, restaurant groups, bars, breweries and cafeterias.

“We knew we had to act quickly and efficiently as the federally-backed loan programs rolled out because, for many of the businesses, obtaining these funds meant the difference between shuttering or staying afloat,” Jorge Gonzalez, CEO and Vice Chairman of City National, said in a Forbes report in October. That meant making sure the technology was seamless , setting up a virtual “war room” and training employees from every corner of the business how to process loan applications, Gonzalez said. In all, CNB funded to $2 billion in loans across the Sunshine State and beyond, helping to preserve as many as 250,000 jobs, he said. Florida City National Bank is also one of the most active banks handling Main Street Lending Program loans.


Also in the top 10 for PPP lending:

  • JPMorgan Chase Bank: $892 million; average loan size of $70,124.
  • Truist Bank: $845 million; average loan size of $123,029.
  • Cross River Bank: $463 million; average loan size of $32,441.
  • Wells Fargo: $438 million; average loan of $36,199.
  • First Horizon Bank: $422 million, average loan of $107,639.
  • TD Bank: $419 million; average loan of $71,562.
  • BankUnited (Miami Lakes-based): $399 million; average loan of $191,665.
  • Kabbage (online lender): $391 million; average loan of $22,061.

Other South Florida-based banks in the top 20 include Professional Bank of Coral Gables, Miami-based Ocean Bank, and Miami-based Amerant Bank. The top 20 were responsible for dispersing 74% of the PPP funding to South Florida companies.

Businesses within the City of Miami received the most loans in Florida: 44,742 loans worth $3.29 billion. Rounding out the top 5 were Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville and Fort Lauderdale, the SFBJ reported.

As the debate in Congress continues over the next round of stimulus, the SBA is continuing to process PPP loan forgiveness applications. Loan recipients need to have used 60% or more of the PPP funds on payroll expenses for the PPP loans to be 100% forgiven.

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