When the Small Enterprise Administration launched its Paycheck Safety Program final month, the leaders of iTHINK Monetary knew they wanted to be prepared to maneuver swiftly.
“We thought it was best to hit the ground running,” mentioned Vice President of Enterprise Lending Christopher Russell, including that the Florida and Georgia-based, $1.58 billion credit score union was involved — rightly — that massive monetary establishments would possibly snap up the cash by issuing greater loans to greater firms.
Created by the CARES Act, this system ran by its preliminary $349 billion funding in lower than two weeks.
Based on a Small Enterprise Administration report, 44% of the primary spherical of PPP cash went to only 4% of candidates. And a mere 8% of small enterprise purposes acquired cash within the first part.
At iTHINK, against this, 84% of the small companies that utilized for help have been accredited.
“Our senior management team came together and discussed and laid out a plan,” Russell mentioned. Tapping its 27-branch community for help, iTHINK “formed an assembly line,” he mentioned, with some staff tasked with opening new memberships whereas others checked the mathematics on the loan purposes.
Fashioned in 1969 by a gaggle of IBM staff, iTHINK was often called the IBM Southeast Staff’ Credit score Union till March of 2020.
Final 12 months, it acquired Oculina Bank — a longstanding Small Enterprise Administration lender — which bolstered iTHINK’s capacity to maneuver quick on the PPP loans.
Russell mentioned all loan purposes have been processed within the order that they have been acquired, with out regard for measurement. “We adopted the attitude ‘first in, first out,’” he mentioned.
So far, iTHINK has accredited 1,110 loans totaling $55 million, with extra within the pipeline. The common loan measurement is $50,000, Russell mentioned. However he added that the credit score union can also be proud to have processed a lot of loans for $1,000 — the minimal measurement beneath this system.
“It’s pretty heartwarming to see the response,” he mentioned. “We are hearing from people that, ‘This is saving my company.’”
Certainly, iTHINK shared testimonials from prospects akin to James M. Keenan, the COO of Charles Brooks Holding Firm, who wrote that his firm turned to iTHINK as a result of it “did not receive timely service by our current bank to assist with the information and submission” of its PPP software.
Keenan praised iTHINK staff who “went above and beyond to assist us. This level of service is something you don’t see often in the financial world today.”