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Banks ramp up loans to tri-county small businesses

By   /   Friday, April 24th, 2020  /   Comments Off on Banks ramp up loans to tri-county small businesses

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It’s not too late for tri-county small businesses to get financial aid from the government to help offset COVID-19 losses.

President Donald Trump signed a $484 billion relief package bill April 24 containing the awaited second wave of Payroll Protection Program funding.

The program originally had $349 billion for small businesses but ran out of funds 13 days into its existence, leaving most owners confused over whether or not their loans had been accepted. Many were not been able to apply at all.

There are more than 30 million small businesses in the United States, but the SBA was only able to fund 1.6 million loans before the initial PPP funding ran out.

Citizens Business Bank, which has branches on the Central Coast, processed more than 900 loans during the 13 days the program was open for a total of $558 million.

In order to process that many loans that quickly, the bank reallocated 120 associates to help out.

“I don’t expect we’ll be able to help everyone, but we’re going to do everything we can to help our customers,” said David Brager, CEO of Citizens Business Bank. “We want our customers to come out of this stronger than they were going in.”

Santa Barbara-based Montecito Bank & Trust also pulled overtime during the application period.

The bank processed loans from more than 300 clients, with the loans worth more than $100 million.

“I could not believe the volume of phone calls from our community,” said George Leis, president and COO of Montecito Bank & Trust. “It was heart wrenching to hear of the need and the fear.”

The SBA has continued to issue guidance for banks as to how they should view and count the loans, but there are still some questions as to how the agency intends the loans to be forgiven.

Many normal requirements for funding SBA loans have been suspended as well in an effort to reach as many owners as possible.

“The SBA was never designed to be a large volume distribution network,” Leis said.

• Contact Amber Hair at

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About the author

Staff Writer at Pacific Coast Business Times, Inc.

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