Three local bankers had a panel discussion regarding the Paycheck Protection Program, PPP loan forgiveness and other relief options for local businesses during the Weatherford Area Economic Development Meeting Wednesday morning.
Cody Bell with BancFirst, Jarred Jones with First National Bank and Trust Co. of Weatherford and Derek Roper with Legacy Bank gave a brief presentation with a question and answer session. The following information is the highlights from the discussion.
Weatherford overall received several million in PPP loans, which has an extended deadline of August 8.
“It’s eye-opening when you see the dollar amounts which went back into this community,” Bell, president of the BancFirst in Weatherford, said. “I think everyone did a great job.”
The $600 billion program, which is done through a partnership of the U.S. Treasury Department and the Small Business Association (SBA), have made the bankers jobs a bit difficult by changing the rules and requirements several times through the program’s run time.
“We had to bring people back in to redo applications they already filled out,” Jones, FNB executive vice president, said.
Roper said in his team filled about 9 months’ worth of applications in only two. In addition, many of his team members had to take on new responsibilities to ensure they were able to help everyone on time.
Now that businesses have received their PPP loans, they are looking at loan forgiveness. Bell said the forgiveness applications initially were scheduled for July 1, but it has been pushed back due to changes.
“There is talk about full forgiveness for all loans less than $150,000, which is 86.5 percent of all loans in the United States,” Bell said.
There is a proposal in the U.S. Senate which would do just that. However, some are looking for blanket forgiveness.
As of right now, financial institutions are waiting on instructions from the SBA before they can begin the loan forgiveness application process.
There also is another source of relief for Oklahoma businesses. Through the CARES Act funds, Gov. Kevin Stitt created the Oklahoma Business Relief Fund, which is a grant. Business can apply for the grant if they have experience a revenue loss of 25 percent or more in January through May due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The loss is in comparison to the 2019 numbers.
Jones said the grant is $25,000 max, but there are less spending restrictions. The program is in two phases, with the first phase of applications already closed.
Roper said the grant looks like it will work well, but he is worried about the quick timing of it all.
All three said they already had applications which didn’t make the first round ready for the second. Financial institution can begin submitting application again 8 a.m. July 14.