From the desk of Rose Oswald Poels, President and CEO, Wisconsin Bankers Association
Last Friday, I had the pleasure of meeting U.S. SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza as she toured three businesses in the Green Bay area that received PPP loans working through their local Wisconsin banks. I joined her at Reynolds Packaging, a woman-owned business, which was her first stop of the day. Reynolds Packaging worked with the Bank of Luxemburg to obtain a PPP loan to help keep many of their employees working for their main manufacturing line, as well as a new PPE line they added in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Joining Administrator Carranza on the tour were SBA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Rob Scott and Wisconsin District Director Eric Ness, among other guests.
Administrator Carranza has been on a multi-state tour visiting small businesses that received PPP money in large part to listen to their needs, remind businesses of the many other SBA programs available to take advantage of, and ask what more the SBA can do to help businesses grow and thrive. In addition to Reynolds Packaging, she also visited S&C Machine and Margaritas which received PPP loans from The Stephenson National Bank and Trust, Marinette, and Associated Bank, Green Bay, respectively.
The tour highlighted the critical need that the PPP program filled, particularly with small businesses, allowing them to keep employees working during the pandemic. Administrator Carranza was genuinely inspired during her visit to Reynolds Packaging where she shared with me that “keeping people employed, creating PPE while still running normal business operations was incredible to see.” She heard a similar story at S&C Machine where the owners shared that “Without the SBA, our business would not exist.”
Stories like this can be heard all over Wisconsin, and it is humbling to witness first-hand the critical role bankers play in the success of their business customers. Bankers truly are the economic engine in their local communities and that was never proven to be more true than over these last five months.
As of July 2, Wisconsin financial institutions made over 73,100 PPP loans to small businesses where the loan amount was $150,000 or less. Lenders with the Bank of Luxemburg shared with me that they have closed nearly 500 PPP loans and 450 of those are loans under $150,000. I know this ratio is representative of nearly all banks in Wisconsin. All of you stepped up to work through the night and on weekends to make sure your customers received the PPP loans they needed. Administrator Carranza understands this critical role well, sharing with me that “lenders play a huge part of the success [of the program].”
Thank you for all you do to make Wisconsin such a great place for businesses to thrive.
- WBA recently joined other state and national banking groups in calling on Congress to change the PPP to provide clarity and help small businesses. Click here to read more about these efforts and the letters we sent.
- Advocacy yields results: 5 New Wisconsin laws impacting banking from the most recent legislative session.