The U.S. government's $349 billion emergency loan fund ran out of money Wednesday night, eliminating a potential revenue lifeline for financial technology lenders at a time when the economy has slammed to a halt because of the coronavirus shutdown.
A number of startups that specialize in lending money to small businesses, including Kabbage and OnDeck, have been hard hit as their customers fall behind on loans. Kabbage furloughed employees, and OnDeck has tightened credit standards for borrowers. The companies had hoped to shore up their own businesses while keeping their customers afloat, by taking part in the loan program. But by the time they were authorized to participate, the fund had been nearly drained by traditional banking lenders.