Benchmark funds over $40 million to almost 800 businesses
May 6, 2020 - Benchmark Community Bank reported today that the bank has processed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans totaling in excess of $40 million to benefit nearly 800 small businesses. The federal program accepted applications during two rounds launching April 3rd and April 27th. The Kenbridge-based bank has offices in 16 markets throughout Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina.
"Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities," said Jay Stafford, President and CEO of Benchmark Community Bank. "They provide jobs, goods, and services that support families and other small businesses contributing to a superior quality of life in our towns and cities. It is critical that our nation’s banks team with the federal government to provide aid during this crisis.
"For some of these businesses, PPP was the tool they needed to keep their staff and operation intact until they can resume normal operations," Stafford continued. "We are truly honored and privileged that they came to Benchmark when they needed help during this critical period. Our bankers truly went the extra mile working nights and weekends to help their community neighbors.
"Community banks have a close connection to their customers contributing to their ability to quickly adapt to a difficult and changing PPP rollout. These are the banks that stepped up to contribute nearly 60% of all PPP applications."
Purposed to assist small businesses with fewer than 500 employees, PPP opened for applications through the Small Business Administration (SBA) e-Tran portal on April 3rd. During two application rounds, over 3.8 million loans for more than half a trillion dollars of economic support have been processed by lenders and approved by SBA.
One of two disaster relief loans administered by SBA, this program is unique in that funds can be forgiven. To qualify for loan forgiveness, recipients follow several criteria regarding the percentage designated for payroll, as well as rent, utilities, and other ongoing costs. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the average loan size during Round 2 was $79,000 with over 70% of loans being under $50,000. Round 2 opened on April 27th resulting in 2.2 million loans totaling over $175 billion.
According to the Virginia Bankers Association, Virginia banks of all sizes worked around-the-clock to provide loans through the program, processing 46,368 applications totaling more than $3.97 billion in the second round alone of PPP funding, from April 27th through May 1st. During the two rounds, SBA reported a total of 86,739 loans were processed through this program in Virginia, for a total of $12.69 billion.
"All Virginia banks are open, well capitalized, and working tirelessly for small business customers to serve their needs," said Bruce Whitehurst, President and CEO of the Virginia Bankers Association. 'Bankers have been on the front line of the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and are honored to be a conduit for the Federal government to get this aid to these businesses that desperately need it. $135 billion in PPP funding remains and banks are ready to help even more small businesses across the Commonwealth."
Benchmark Community Bank was founded in 1971 as the Lunenburg County Bank. It was renamed in 1989 when the operation expanded to neighboring counties. Named annually since 2007 to the Top 200 Community Banks, according to American Banker magazine, Benchmark has 17 locations throughout Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina. To learn more about Benchmark Community Bank, you are invited to call your local branch or visit www.bcbonline.com.
About the Virginia Bankers Association
The Virginia Bankers Association represents banks of all sizes and charters and has served as the unified voice for Virginia’s $615 billion banking industry and its 42 thousand employees since 1893. To learn more about the VBA, visit www.vabankers.org. www.vabankers.org.
Contact: Helen Person, VP/Director of Marketing
434-676-2666 ext. 1103
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