I have always been proud of my occupation as a community banker, and the last couple of months have, once again, affirmed all of my reasons why.
As the nation’s largest banks tripped over themselves in getting Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) loans into the hands of small business owners that needed them the most, America’s locally owned, independent community banks quietly went about their customary business—taking care of the markets in which they are located and from which they earn their livelihood. It’s a storyline that plays out every day on mainstreets across America as community bankers embrace the unique responsibility they have of tending to the financial well-being of their friends and neighbors.
I’m happy to report that Lakeview Bank fully embraced its responsibility to distribute PPP loans, as well! Amid much chaos and confusion in the early days of the program our loan department staff put in countless hours of work to ensure that much needed liquidity found its way to small businesses who were on a path to potential devastation caused by COVID-19. Two months of hard work and almost $27 million in PPP loans later, some 295 small businesses were provided a lifeline for survival and more than 2,200 jobs were preserved—and that is just from one small community bank in Lakeville, MN!
But perhaps what I am most proud of with our PPP involvement is that, unlike the nation’s largest banks, we served the needs of both customers and non-customers alike. In fact, 48% of our PPP loans were to small business owners who prior to now had never set foot inside of our building; many of them told us stories of how their PPP loan applications were stuck in a queue somewhere and they could find nobody who could tell them anything about their application’s status. Once we obtained the necessary information to process their request they marveled at how we could get their PPP loan approved by the SBA generally within 24 hours after our initial conversation and have the loan proceeds disbursed just a few days later!
For us, however, that is just business as usual. We, too, are a small business and we understand the importance of local, nimble decision making. If we ever have the privilege of helping you with your financial needs, whether now or in the future sometime, we think you will see what a difference that can make!
Stay safe and stay healthy!
President & CEO