By Jondi Gumz
4 days after the president signed a COVID-19 aid invoice authorizing $349 billion in forgivable loans for small companies designed to assist their workers preserve their jobs, Santa Cruz County Bank was rarin’ to go.
The domestically owned bank, which rated fourth greatest within the nation final 12 months, created a pre-application on-line for small enterprise homeowners to make it simpler for them to use.
That was earlier than the U.S. Small Enterprise Administration launched the official tips for the brand new Payroll Safety Program ━ formidable for a 14-year-old bank that ranks fifth in deposits in Santa Cruz County behind Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase, and Comerica, all older establishments with bigger staffs.
Since merging with domestically owned Lighthouse Bank, Santa Cruz County Bank was on monitor to develop to $899 million in deposits and $1.1 billion in property, milestones reached on March 31.
Bringing the 2 banks collectively resulted in a workers of 118, and the pc techniques integration placing them on the identical web page electronically befell as scheduled on April 5-6.
The day after, the SBA issued new steerage for the Payroll Safety Program, prompting a modern-day “gold rush” for federal cash with Santa Cruz County Bank workers working nights and weekends to course of six years worth of loan requests in 10 days, when the cash ran out.
The top outcome: 29,218 jobs saved at native small companies.
That’s easy calculation as a result of the applying requires the enterprise proprietor listing the variety of workers.
“There’s no such things as bankers’ hours,” mentioned Mary Anne Carson, vp of selling at Santa Cruz County Bank. “We do whatever it takes to get the job done.”
As soon as the bank will get a affirmation from SBA, the cash is earmarked, and the enterprise proprietor should observe by means of by submitting required documentation with a view to get the cash.
Carson mentioned at the very least 20 folks have been employed for momentary jobs to assist with information enter for loan processing.
Getting the loan is a multi-step course of. After every utility was learn by bank workers, it needed to be submitted to SBA’s digital loan processing system, which was flooded with purposes.
“That’s what broke down,” mentioned Carson.
SBA officers later defined that use of “robotic processing automation” by some lenders aiming to hurry up the method really burdened the SBA system. So the SBA restricted their use.
One other downside was that bigger companies utilized for bigger loans — and obtained them. The Los Angeles Lakers obtained $4.6 million, Shake Shack obtained $10 million and the Ruth’s Chris Steak Home chain obtained $20 million. After an uproar, all three returned the cash.
Carson mentioned Santa Cruz County Bank obtained purposes from not simply their very own enterprise proprietor clients but additionally enterprise homeowners who banked elsewhere.
“We were hearing, ‘my bank isn’t doing these types of loans,’ ‘my bank isn’t accepting me.’” Carson mentioned. “In some cases, they had deposits and the bank wouldn’t accept their application.”
Santa Cruz County Bank is hiring to fill 10 open positions, together with an e-banking specialist and a name heart specialist primarily based in Scotts Valley, and a venture supervisor, and a customer support supervisor.