Leadership in the Midst of Crisis with Lendio’s CEO. Inside a PPP Processing Company.Ramon Ray
Brock Blake has a very disciplined life. His family, health, early morning routines, and his faith are a few of his daily habits and what’s important to him. Over the past year his company, Lendio, has been thrust into the essential role of processing thousands of transactions for small business owners. In the first round of PPP loans, Lendio processed 115,000 loans worth $8 billion dollars.
In this second round of PPP loans, they’re also processing thousands of loans per day to desperate small business owners.
Our hospitals and health care system have a critical role in our physical and mental health. Financial institutions, like Lendio, in partnership with the SBA has a critical role to distribute government funding to small businesses who are in need and many in crisis.
What’s it like leading a financial technology company in the midst of a global crisis? Brock and I discussed this and more.
Stories of Small Business Resilience
Brock said that one thing that keeps him and his team going is knowing that they’re not just processing PPP loans, but they’re impacting the lives of thousands of small business owners.
Last year financial institutions processed loans at a very rapid pace.
Only at the last minute did Congress pass the second round of PPP loans and then expect financial institutions to move fast to distribute the money.
Brock explained that it’s not that simple with this second round of PPP loans.
There’s different criteria and a level of complexity. Furthermore, the SBA requires that each loan application is manually checked by a human.
Lendio, probably like other institutions, has had to scale VERY fast. Hiring an additional 1,000 people (each needing a computer), processing these new staff members, training them, conducting background checks, etc. has been a gargantuan task.
Although it’s a very heavy lift, Brock explained that he and his team put themselves in the shoes of the customers they’re seeking to serve.
How does the lending process work?
- A small business owner fills out a PPP application form through Lendio.
- This application goes to a lender (often a bank).
- Via Lendio’s system, the bank sends the application to the SBA for approval.
- The SBA will then decline, approve or soft decline the loan. Soft decline means that there’s often a small correction in the loan needed.
- Once approved a contract is made between the small business owner and the relevant financial institution.
During this time period, there’s been many days where Brock has not been able to be home with his family. He’s often worked 20 hours a day for 7 days straight.
Brock has high praise for his team, who helps run larger teams of Lendio staff who serve America’s small business customers.
Brock’s focus is on vision, strategy and culture. Brock said there’s nothing he won’t do to support his team and small business owners, and during a “leadership in crisis”, it’s all hands on deck.
The Power of Over Communication
Brock explained that one can never over communicate, especially during a crisis. If your want your team to be on the same page it’s important that everyone knows the “big picture” and their specific role in it. You don’t want silos in your business NOR do you want confusion.