Vancouver Sun - - FP VAN­COU­VER -

Canada’s five big­gest banks ap­proved about 69,000 in loans on the open­ing day of the fed­eral re­lief pro­gram for small busi­nesses hurt by COVID-19. That to­tals $2.76 bil­lion if ev­ery client took the full amount al­lowed un­der the Canada Emer­gency Busi­ness Ac­count, which of­fers gov­ern­ment-guar­an­teed loans of as much as $40,000 that are in­ter­est-free through 2022. The gov­ern­ment an­nounced the $25 bil­lion plan on March 27, and lenders started ac­cept­ing ap­pli­ca­tions Thurs­day. Royal Bank of Canada, the coun­try’s largest lender by as­sets, had 19,500 ap­pli­ca­tions. That would equal about $780 mil­lion if ev­ery client asked for the full amount. Toronto-do­min­ion Bank, the sec­ond-largest lender, com­pleted more than 25,000 loans, which could equal $1 bil­lion. Bank of Nova Sco­tia said it had pro­cessed 7,500 loans amount­ing to more than $300 mil­lion.

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