JPMorgan Chase & Co. and other banks weren’t ready to lend money initially after the Trump administration didn’t provide guidance on processing loans for the program until hours before it started on April 3. Many banks didn’t take applications from borrowers who didn’t have an existing lending account. Wells Fargo & Co., historically one of the largest lenders for small businesses, had to stop taking applications for a time because of a regulatory cap, which was eased on Wednesday.

Some lenders were also wary about their ability to resell the loans for needed liquidity. The Federal Reserve helped address those concerns Tuesday when it announced a program to provide financing against the loans.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin assured borrowers during a White House briefing April 2: “You get the money. You’ll get it the same day. You use this to pay your workers. Please bring your workers back to work if you’ve let them go. You have eight weeks plus overhead. This is a very important program.”

President Donald Trump defended the program on Thursday, saying billions of dollars’ worth of loans are being processed and bankers will be paying out the money “in the very near future.”

“I’m hearing it’s a very, very successful rollout,” Trump said. “They did want changes in applications, they want changes in loan requirements, etcetera,” he said of lenders.

Bankers warned the Trump administration it had failed to provide sufficient guidance on how lenders should draft critical documents. They wanted the fine print on rules that business owners must follow to get their loans forgiven, and banks held off completing financing because of uncertainty about loan documents, called promissory notes. Guidance from Treasury finally came on Wednesday that they could use their own form or an SBA one.

But a sample SBA loan note posted online caused even more confusion, said Kristen Granchelli, vice president of government affairs at NAGGL. It was dated 2002 and mentioned “collateral,” which the SBA’s coronavirus aid program doesn’t require.

“We are being told, ‘Just be comfortable with building your own note,’” Granchelli said. “That is an incredibly risky place to live in for a lender who’s trying to do right by their borrower.”

The main holdup has been a lack of clarity from SBA, Granchelli said. Historically, bankers that make loans through the SBA’s loan program use a guidebook that’s more than 300 pages, she said. Bankers have yet to see any such specific guidance for the new loans, including how to ensure the government will forgive them, she noted. The system could be further strained as the self-employed and independent contractors can start applying Friday, raising even more questions about how the rules apply to them.

For many banks, taking applications was only the beginning of their problems. Lenders reported that the legacy SBA E-Tran system has crashed or been inaccessible for long periods of times due to the flood of applications, even as SBA is working to increase capacity.