Software Development

How this Baltimore tech team helped build the Paycheck Protection Program’s bank portal

Fearless' Lender Gateway is essentially a frontend for banks that collects info and interfaces with the E-Tran system used by the Small Business Administration to process and approve loans.

Fearless CEO Delali Dzirasa (right) and COO John Foster.

(Courtesy photo)

Downtown Baltimore digital services agency Fearless frequently partners with the federal government to bring new technology capacity and capability to public business.

As the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) looked to improve its technology to process $350 billion in loans processed quickly with the launch of the Paycheck Protection Program on April 3, Fearless was among the agencies working on a portal designed to streamline loan processing for the banks.

Fearless CEO Delali Dzirasa said the portal, called Lender Gateway, is essentially a frontend for the lenders that collects info and interfaces with the E-Tran system used by the SBA to process and approve loans.

It’s available for any bank. Dzirasa said this can help “reduce the barrier to entry” for community banks that didn’t have a previous relationship with the SBA. They will now have a direct portal to connect, and don’t have to set up their own system.

“Now my barrier isn’t that I [a bank] have to have a dev team, or spend X to get a new … system,” Dzirasi said. “The barrier is, do I have internet and a web browser so I can start to process loans?”

The design, development, testing and launch took place to get it up and running in less than 10 days. To get it done, a Fearless team of seven people worked in shifts as part of a wider team. To keep the lines of communications open and fix issues, a video chat was running constantly with the project partners from E-Tran, AWS and the SBA.


“Everyone really came together,” Dzirasa said.

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