Banks, credit unions came to the aid of local businesses through the pandemic | Business Chatter – Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona 2021-07-30 04:15:00 –

After providing more than $ 800 billion to businesses and workers across the country, the Federal Paycheck Protection Program ended on May 31st. Arizona companies received more than 80,000 loans, averaging $ 40,000 each, to keep their staff working and the industry functioning. It is rising again.

According to the Arizona Department of Health, new daily COVID cases were the highest since late February, with over 1,100 new cases per day as of last week. After the vaccine was deployed at the beginning of the year, cases across the state steadily declined and then leveled off in the past few months. However, as the economy opens and social distance restrictions are lifted, opportunities for communication increase.

In response, regional banks continue to carry out certain pandemic programs after the end of federal efforts. These programs are not permanent, but lessons learned over the past year and a half can change the elements of the banking industry forever.

“The pandemic provided a great opportunity for members to embrace online and mobile banking and use them more comfortably. Once they understand how convenient it is for them to manage their finances remotely, it is they. “We will stick to,” said Jill Casey Pintor, Vice President of Communications at Vantage West Credit Union. “We were able to continue our business during the pandemic, and we look forward to continuing to meet and exceed our members’ expectations. Business neighbors and community partners have proven resilience. Therefore, I am optimistic that I can grow strongly. “

Vantage West has processed an estimated $ 26 million in SBA and PPP loans for its members and over $ 800,000 in the form of exemption from pandemic-related funding. They are also continuing to bail out the new federal child tax credit issued this month.

“For stimulus payments and child tax deduction payments, we took the approach of not applying them to cover the loan by default, but before the pandemic, if the loan was the default, we would enter the account. I was entitled to a deposit, but given that everything was happening, as a credit union, we chose not to touch those funds and leave them to our members, “said Vantage West Credit Union’s loan. Jade Oesterle, Vice President of Services, said.

Tax credits are part of the American Rescue Plan, which allows families to receive $ 250 or $ 300 per child per month. Vantage West will also continue this approach for the rest of the year. Credit unions have also manually posted approximately $ 2.5 million as a stimulus that would have been returned to the IRS due to inadequate account information. According to Pintor, this situation highlights the difference between co-operatives and traditional banks.

“All decisions are made locally, so we had a unique opportunity to work with members at a more neighborly and personal level. This is one of the distinguishing factors between banks and local co-operatives. This gives us more flexibility in finding creative ways to support the individual needs of our members, ”says Pinter. “As a local company and as a local credit union serving members of the local company, Vantage West understands the important role that” important customers “and their” important members “play in the post-pandemic economic recovery. doing.

This has influenced the partnership with the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce and created “Essentials”, a promotional spot to help the locals recover after the pandemic of the community.

business. “

Last year, there was a shift in Arizona’s Commerce Bank, a state-wide bank that serves individuals and businesses. Commerce Bank participated in both PPP rounds, bringing more than 500 loans and $ 85 million to Arizona companies throughout the state. The process was so large that more than 12 of Commerce Bank’s approximately 50 employees now only engage in PPP loans.

“Wherever we need it, we have provided. Throughout the process, we have acquired 80 new clients who are not serviced by existing banks and are struggling with the PPP process. Recognizing its importance as a line, as a community bank, we felt it was important to meet that need, “said Paul Tees, Twson’s Market President and CCO of the Commerce Bank of Arizona. increase. “What the pandemic has shown us is how resilient the business is. Looking at when this happened in March, many people are wondering which industry will be hit hard, and that. We were looking at how this would affect a bank’s loan portfolio. We saw that many of the businesses we lent were capable of pivoting strategies and acting agilely. Last year it really worked and we did it with a different business model. “

Commerce Bank was also one of the few Arizona banks to participate in the Federal Main Street Lending Program due to its business focus. The program lent to small and medium-sized for-profit and non-profit organizations that were in good financial condition before the start. COVID. This particular business support offered low interest rate loans with favorable payment terms. However, like other federal loan programs, the main street loan program has ended.

Early in the pandemic, Tees said virtual banking could have been described as a paradigm shift in the financial industry. However, with the opening of businesses and the increase in vaccinations, he sees more personal contact and face-to-face businesses as a reminder that banking is a “people-based business.” In addition, Commerce Bank saw a 10% loan growth in the first quarter of 2021 and continues to show loan growth.

“These business models can take into account that the pandemic may never end, wondering if the pandemic will recur and we will have to shut down again, and how we can survive. “Tee’s said. “To some extent, it was useful for companies to look at existing business models and try to understand how to handle them in the future. But we are still lending and to the entire Arizona economy. I’m very optimistic. “

Washington, DC-based state federal endowment information released quarterly state economic momentum indicators in June. As a result, more than half of all states outperformed last quarter’s economic performance. Arizona ranks highest in 6th place, with an economic momentum score of 2% higher than the national average. This report is based on data from the Census, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and Bureau of Labor Statistics. Arizona is also one of the states with the highest personal income growth, with a 6% increase over the past year compared to 4% nationwide.

“We’ve seen many people move from other states to Tucson and Phoenix, and generally to Arizona. This transition is the perfect place for Arizona to do business both now and in the future. I think it shows, “says Tees. “Our overall economy is strong, especially when we look at the housing market and neighboring states. This is a good place to live and businesses understand it.”

Banks, credit unions came to the aid of local businesses through the pandemic | Business Chatter Source link Banks, credit unions came to the aid of local businesses through the pandemic | Business Chatter

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