ICBSD: Independent Banks Stepping up for Small Businesses with PPP Funding

ICBSD: Independent Banks Stepping up for Small Businesses with PPP Funding

For months now, every facet of “normal” life has been upended by COVID-19. Where and how we work, learn, shop, socialize and even bank have all been affected. Yet, the bright spot amid this change has been America’s enduring spirit as friends and neighbors work together to stay safe, remain connected, and support one another.

A great example of coming together for the greater good is how the nation’s 5,000 community banks rallied around small businesses, which account for roughly 48 percent of the U.S. workforce and serve as the backbone of our nation’s economy.

When stay-at-home orders forced millions of small businesses to curtail or close their operations, South Dakota’s community banks stepped in to lend support.

So when the Small Business Administration (SBA) turned on the spigot for its Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)—which backstops emergency small-business loans from financial institutions to help cover payroll and related costs— bankers throughout South Dakota mobilized every available resource at their disposal to process these loans.

I could not be prouder of our bankers, many of whom worked nights and weekends or assumed new roles to get the job done and ensure critical funds were delivered to those who needed it most.

FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams recently referred to community banks as “the small engines that could and did and delivered big,” and the numbers certainly seem to support that description. According to the SBA summary of loan approvals through June 6, lenders with less than $50 billion in assets have accounted for more than 65 percent of the 4.5 million approved PPP loans and more than 63 percent of the $511 billion in funds approved since the program’s launch. Nationwide, community banks have received hundreds of loan applications through the program ranging in size from less than $50,000 to more than $500,000, according to a recent ICBA survey.

Even before the PPP launched, independent banks throughout South Dakota begun offering small businesses options for modifications of loan terms, payment deferrals for up to six months, and adjustments to the rate and term to create lower payments. And they continue to seek ways to contribute to their local economies and support local businesses.

Independent community banks were built for times like these! Relationships and ensuring the financial health and welfare of their communities is their number one priority. No matter what the situation, you can depend on them. The customers and communities they serve are the driving forces behind all that they do. They will continue to do what is right for all who call South Dakota home, including the many beloved local small businesses that help keep our Main Streets thriving.

Thank you, community bankers!