Your partner throughout prosperity and uncertainty
As the coronavirus pandemic developed in 2020, many small businesses across the country were impacted negatively, suffering loses that resulted in furloughs, layoffs, and closures.
On March 27, in an effort to alleviate further economic stress, President Trump signed the CARES Act, enacting Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans to provide US businesses financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, on April 3 at 1:00 p.m. EST, SBA guidance was substantially complete, allowing small businesses and sole proprietorships to begin their submission for PPP loans.
The economic effects of COVID-19 hit small businesses particularly hard, forcing many to temporarily shut down or make major changes to business to comply with new regulations. Kimberly Wagler, the owner of Impulse Training, found her small business amidst these challenges.
In a time of uncertainty, small business owners were often left in the dark as to how their PPP loan application would be handled, and the accompanying processes and regulations.
“When everything hit, we were shut down. We had all kinds of stuff being thrown at us as business owners. I, alone, had to navigate the conflicting information people were telling me every day,” says Wagler.
On April 3, hours before small businesses could apply for PPP loans, news circulated that some of the biggest U.S. banks weren’t ready to handle the anticipated flood of applications from potential borrowers. In fact, many banks didn’t even expect to start accepting loan applications on April 3 because they weren’t prepared. Others also decided to limit the preparation of PPP loan applications by exclusively offering this service to customers with existing accounts at their bank to combat the influx of applicants.
“I was with another bank for 16 years and I couldn’t quite get the information that I needed from them. They were slow in response and the information they provided was not accurate,” Wagler notes. “When the SBA officially opened applications for PPP loans, I thought it would be a great thing for us to jump on immediately. So, I tried to contact the bank I was with at the time, but didn’t have any success.”
Looking for guidance and action on a PPP loan application, Wagler turned to a familiar face.
“I was blessed to know Rob, a banker from Westfield Bank. He’s a client of ours and someone I trust deeply. I turned to him and started asking him questions about the PPP loan. The lending team took it from there, and within 24 hours, I had my business’s PPP loan approved,” Wagler recounts.
In anticipation of a stream of requests for PPP, Westfield Bank built a virtual assembly line the week prior to accommodate as many customers as possible. Once PPP application submissions opened to small businesses, the company’s virtual assembly line enabled 45 Westfield Bank business bankers, working remotely, to complete over 200 applications (worth $80 million in PPP loans).
“Sometimes in business, you need immediate action and you can’t always get that. That’s something I really appreciate and respect about my experience with Westfield Bank. They made it simple for me in a challenging time,” states Wagler.
Throughout times of prosperity and times of challenge, having the right banking partnership can provide guidance and empower your business decisions. At Westfield Bank, we’re personally invested in your business’s success. We embrace the idea that thriving businesses are the foundation of healthy communities and we’re committed to providing financial care and expertise for every customer we serve.