KNOXVILLE – SmartBank has been working diligently over the past two weeks on behalf of local small businesses in their fight to survive the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the bank has processed approximately 1,700 loan applications and secured over $240 million in loan commitments through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“I’m extremely proud of our team and how much they have accomplished on behalf of our local small businesses in such a short period of time,” said Billy Carroll, president and CEO of SmartBank. “They continue to work long hours to ensure these small businesses receive the much-needed funds during these challenging times.”
The CARES Act is the largest financial support package in U.S. history – a $2.3 trillion stimulus package – and $349 billion of that is allocated to help small businesses. The PPP comes through the Small Business Administration as an incentive for employers to maintain payroll during the pandemic. This helps maintain cash flow and worker retention even though all states are under some sort of stay-at-home order.
The first round of PPP funding, initially available on April 3, has been distributed, and Congress is working to allocate more funds for a second phase of funding.
“It’s critical that business owners respond quickly to ensure they obtain a portion of the next round of paycheck stimulus dollars once they are made available,” Carroll said.
“Our team is prepared to handle the next influx of loan applications once the second phase of PPP is announced and we urge all the small business owners to be prepared to submit their application if they haven’t already,” said Carroll. “Our main focus is to assist as many small businesses as possible in our communities to get the funds they need to keep their businesses going.”
Carroll explains it is important for businesses to remember that once they receive a loan through the PPP, they have eight weeks to spend the loan on payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent and utilities. That amount will be eligible for forgiveness.
“We’re excited for the local small businesses that are going to benefit from this,” said Carroll. “It’s been great to see how our communities have come together to support these businesses in so many different ways over the past month and we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to play a small role as well.”
For more information on SmartBank, visit www.smartbank.com.