On April 30, WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels testified at a hearing before the Assembly Committee on State Affairs. Committee members and individuals providing testimony discussed the “Back to Business Plan” for reopening Wisconsin and other economic activities surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

WBA was invited to testify because of the association’s unmatched ability to provide the committee with information, context, and insight related to the Paycheck Protection Program. 

Specifically, WBA was asked to provide a summary of the program and discuss the impact of PPP on Wisconsin as well as identify issues and challenges. 

Testifying on behalf of WBA and its member banks, Oswald Poels said, “Wisconsin’s financial institutions are on the economic frontlines of this crisis and have been since its inception.” 

In her remarks about PPP, she emphasized the dedication of Wisconsin’s banks to their communities, even amid uncertainty. “I am so proud of how quickly Wisconsin financial institutions jumped into this program to help customers despite the rules not being fully written and continually evolving even to this day,” she said. “And because the volume of lenders across the country participating in this program was so high, our bankers worked late nights and over weekends to ensure that small businesses in Wisconsin could participate in this program because the systems were open virtually 24/7.” 

Discussing current and future challenges related to PPP, Oswald Poels explained that loan forgiveness is a primary concern. “At this point, many of the outstanding issues are focused on the forgiveness phase of the program,” she said. In addition, Oswald Poels provided the committee with the PPP Loan Forgiveness Guide and Forgiveness Calculation Tool from FIPCO. 

“Banks are the cornerstones of their communities, driving Wisconsin’s economy,” Oswald Poels told the committee as she concluded her testimony. “The trusted advisor role our bankers serve for their customers has never been more important than it is now to help ensure their financial wellbeing through this health crisis.” 

The committee also heard testimony from: 

  • Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and members of their organization
  • Secretary-Designee Missy Hughes, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
  • Members from the Wisconsin Grocers Association
  • Members from the Wisconsin Restaurant Association
  • Members from the Tavern League of Wisconsin
  • Members from the Wisconsin Dairy Alliance
  • Members from the Wisconsin Hotel and Lodging Association

Watch the video of the hearing from WisconsinEye.

Serving on the Assembly Committee on State Affairs for the 2019-2020 Legislative Session:

Chair: Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander)
Vice-Chair: Rep. Gary Tauchen (R-Bonduel)
Rep. John Jagler (R-Watertown)
Rep. Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh)
Rep. Daniel Knodl (R-Germantown)
Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin)
Rep. Rob Summerfield (R-Bloomer)
Rep. Bob Kulp (R-Stratford)
Rep. Tyler Vorpagel (R-Plymouth)
Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee)
Rep. Tip McGuire (D-Kenosha)
Rep. Tod Ohnstad (D-Kenosha)
Rep. David Crowley (D-Milwaukee)
Rep. Shelia Stubbs (D-Madison)
Rep. Marisabel Cabrera (D-Milwaukee)