PPP Loans: What is an E-Tran number and why does it matter?

Important PPP update for 2021

On December 22, 2020, Congress passed a bill renewing funding under the CARES Act, including an additional $284 billion earmarked for America’s struggling small businesses. The rules and application process for PPP loans and forgiveness have been modified, with more businesses eligible for PPP loans, more expenses forgivable, and a simplified application process. Please read the full details here.


In this 2-minute read:

  • What is an E-Tran number?
  • What is the E-Tran system for the SBA?
  • If I get an E-Tran number, will my PPP loan be funded?
  • How long does it take for a PPP loan to fund?

E-Tran, sometimes called Etran or etran, is the U.S. Small Business Administration’s loan servicing portal, through which eligible lenders can electronically submit and modify SBA loans. In short, your loan needs to be assigned an E-Tran number before you can get your PPP money.

The E-Tran portal has multiple (and somewhat confusing) functions as far as SBA lenders are concerned, but for small business owners worried about whether they will receive PPP funding before the money runs out, the only thing that really matters is whether your loan gets assigned an “E-Tran number.”

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If my loan is assigned an E-Tran number, does that mean I will get my PPP funding?

Under normal circumstances, yes (see below for possible exceptions). When you submit your PPP loan application via an SBA-affiliated lender (the lender submits your application on your behalf after reviewing it for accuracy, etc.), the SBA’s E-Tran system may send back an error message if any fields are missing or incorrect.

(The E-Tran system doesn’t tell your lender exactly what is incorrect or missing… it just sends an error code. Your lender must then review the application to find the missing or incorrect fields. This is one of the shortcomings of the E-Tran system.)

If your loan application and information are determined to be accurate, your loan will be approved by the SBA, and it will be assigned an E-Tran number, which marks your loan funding as “spent” and holds your place in line.

How long does it take for my money to arrive after I receive an E-Tran number?

The SBA’s directive is that all lenders must fund approved loans within 10 days. If day 10 falls on a weekend, they may fund the following weekday.

However, generally it will take around 10 days for your PPP funding to arrive once your loan is approved and assigned an E-Tran number.

The SBA is working through thousands of private lenders and they may have slightly different requirements as to the mechanics of actually getting your funding deposited, so be sure to check with them during the application process. Some might require a final signed note and/or ACH info.

So if you’ve provided any additional info your lender has requested regarding the actual depositing of your funds, such as any final signed note required and/or ACH info, you should not contact your lender and inquire as to the status of your funding until at least 10 days after your loan is approved.

Is it possible that my loan will be approved but I won’t receive funding?

The SBA and Treasury announced on April 26, 2020 that they are instituting a maximum dollar amount of 10% of PPP funding authority that any single lending institution can originate. This means banks and lenders with larger pools of PPP loan applications may be cut off at some point as the E-Tran system continues working through the backlog of loans.

This could mean some businesses who’ve had their PPP applications approved by larger lenders don’t get funded (if the lender hits their “max” before your loan is funded). 

If you’re concerned about this possibility, you can still apply via a smaller lender that is still accepting applications.

Due to the nearly instant nature of the E-Tran approval process, it’s highly unlikely that a business will be approved for duplicate PPP loans.

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