Imagine the stories we’ll all share years from now about our own personal experiences through a once-in-a-century pandemic of an invisible enemy, the Coronavirus of 2020.
These stories we’re currently living are all over the board, yet all as real as the other.
We have medical, fire, police, grocery, pharmacy, logistics, utility … countless service workers who are still showing up every day. Many have volunteered to take on longer hours, while learning new, complex procedures for everyone’s safety, including their own.
The line was drawn, and almost overnight, most of Main Street closed or became bare bones until further notice, without a plan for income or end.
It’s been nearly three weeks in for both employee scenarios. The lines keep getting drawn as we brace for the apex and start the slide back to normalcy or the new version of it.
Local banking is also essential for the safety, stability and success of our communities. We serve the businesses and workers that make us who we are.
Since the first guidance came of ‘non-essential businesses’ on Friday, the 13th of March, there had been no awareness of a Paycheck Protection Program, yet we began immediately putting the plans in place to what we could do and how we would structure workflows efficiently with newly formed teams.
Deferments, refinancing, and interest-only relief were tackled immediately as well as customer service expansion to address all calls for aid. We knew it was temporary and the right thing to do for everyone.
Every business is essential to our Main Street, because that’s what community is. We believe every local business and non-profit affected by this pandemic can be helped.
Now, with the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), we have more defense in our tool kit to keep our business owners and their employees viable and protected.
We expected there to be many unknowns with any new program, as the entire process was a moving target and the document requirements were in the air up to the day the SBA opened the portal for banks to assist.
We all must be careful and thorough to ensure you’ll be forgiven, meaning the SBA will reimburse the bank for fronting the funds to shave weeks, if not months, off the wait for our friends and neighbors to get financial relief, who are shut down or will be soon.
We did, on a positive note, understand the goal of PPP. Rather than wait, we began collecting documents and educating businesses right away to help over prepare so their paperwork would be ready. The faster we get our businesses in there, the faster we can process.
Imagine receiving a puzzle from the federal government with several hundred pieces in it. The front of the box has the completed picture on it. It’s the vision of our President’s goal to bring a surge of hope to the heart of our country, and the back bone through this unknown time. It’s a puzzle that requires a whole new system to assemble, and every financial institution can try on their own to solve it.
While the physical distancing expands, so must our ideas. We brought all hands on deck to solve the puzzle as quickly as we can while we juggle several pieces and are missing a handful, too.
When the timer went off and the pieces were down, we weren’t sure how it would go or how many of our customers were going to request it. We currently have more than 2,800 local businesses that partner with us and even with outreach calls and emails to check in, we hadn’t made it through in that short window. Each are not a number and have their own unique situation.
By Sunday, April 6th, the new team had worked around the clock submitting prepared documents and applications to the SBA. That same day, we had the privilege of congratulating the first 70+ businesses and non-profits on their approval from PPP. More than $9 million was earmarked within the first full day and we’re guiding hundreds more within the third day. We’ve got this. You’ve got this.
We knew the puzzle was going to be challenging, but isn’t everything right now?
It’s time to roll up our sleeves and do our part to inspire, protect and celebrate what makes our communities thrive. That’s our guiding rule.
Let’s work together and get through this so our roots, our stories and our celebrations are stronger than ever.
If you’re a community business in central Ohio and need assistance during this time, visit www.RichwoodBank.com/PPP