Local financial advisors and banks supporting small businesses across the area have recently felt the fear and anxiety from small business owners as a result of the COVID-19 mandates. Many small business owners nationwide are hurting due to the economic uncertainty and feel as though they cannot find support after the original $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program’s (PPP) stimulus well ran dry last week and the program itself was suspended due to funding availability. As part of the CARES Act, which became law earlier this month, the government has attempted to provide relief, but the massive aid hasn’t come without its fair share of pitfalls and partisan politicking- and for many small business owners, it hasn’t come at all. Still, there may be hope for area businesses to remain reasonably optimistic with CNBC reporting that as of Sunday night, Senate Democrats and Republicans were negotiating a deal that would allocate $310 billion more into the Paycheck Protection Program, setting aside $60 billion for rural and minority groups with the remaining $60 billion going toward the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL). With three massive stimulus bills passed but mired in uncertainty, it can be hard to know where to focus while local banks attempt to navigate the murky waters themselves.

The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) have helped businesses for years recover from the effects of unexpected natural and man-made disasters. This is the first time however that a virus or pandemic event has been defined as a disaster. Accordingly, businesses in every state and territory are eligible to apply for Economic Injury Disaster loans and area banks have made themselves available at every level. “Our community and our customers are our top priority, and we are focused on helping local businesses navigate these difficult times.” says Martha Keeler, Marketing Director for the Bank of Greene County. “Our Lending Team is ready to help businesses restructure existing loans and our SBA Lending Specialists are available to assist with applications under the SBA CARES Act.” Initially, when Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act it was an estimated $2 trillion package, which specifically allocated $10 Billion for EIDLs and $350 billion for Paycheck Protection Loans to help small businesses. Despite over one million small businesses being approved, tensions remained high when it was announced that the aid package had run out of money last week. The many local businesses’ futures remain in flux, banks are adamant in their support as Keeler reiterates, “The Bank of Greene County cares about the communities it serves, and we are here to help local businesses in our area.”

Similarly, under the Paycheck Protection Program, perhaps the most volatile portion of the CARES Act, the SBA backs small-business loans through local lenders. “It has been incredibly busy,” says George T. Whalen lll, President of the Bank of Millbrook. “Although the Bank of Millbrook is not an SBA lender, we felt it was extremely important to participate in the SBA’s PPP loan initiative.” According to an article from Forbes, some of the loan’s provisions include
“The maximum interest rate being 1% , loan terms at 2 years, no personal guarantee or collateral is required for the loan, and payments are deferred for six months.”

As Congress attempts to come to an agreement on an additional $310 billion in funding, local financial experts like Mr. Whalen know time is of the essence, “Our customers have been greatly affected, as many small businesses across the country have been. The Bank of Millbrook applied to participate in the PPP and upon approval, we began processing loan applications. Our lending team has been devoting the vast amount of our time and energy to processing the applications swiftly. Our customers’ appreciation has been tremendous.”

Update as of 2pm April, 21

cnn.com reports that Congressional negotiations have reached a deal on a $450 billion package to help small businesses. On Tuesday afternoon Congress reached a deal on a bill that includes hundreds of billions of dollars in new funding for small businesses hurt by the coronavirus outbreak according to cnn.com. “The text of the bill should be unveiled as soon as Tuesday afternoon as the two sides give the deal a final read. Lawmakers will try to pass it in the Senate at 4 p.m. ET when the chamber convenes for a pro forma session.”

For updates and more information on how the Bank of Greene County can help you, visit their website at www.tbogc.com or call them at 518-943-2600.

The Bank of Millbrook is in the process of obtaining an SBA Lender number for the approval of SBA PPP loans. For information on Coronavirus Residential Mortgage Relief and other programs visit bankofmillbrook.com
Their lobbies are closed due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Drive-up tellers are available.