When the COVID-19 pandemic started, Neffs National Bank wasn’t an active Small Business Administration lender.
But, after a short learning curve that quickly changed and now the bank has been honored for its work in helping people obtain SBA Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans by the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers.
The bank received the organization’s Inspire Award for coming to the aid of the small businesses it serves in the community.
Marianne Eisenhauer, vice president of commercial lending & credit administration for Neffs, said the bank is proud of the way it was able to help so many small businesses, and gain customers in the process.
“Our phones were ringing off the hook with current customers asking us to help them with the PPP,” she said.
The problem was that bank’s staff wasn’t familiar with the SBA lending process used for the forgivable loans. “It was challenging because we had to learn the process,” she said. “We had to find a way to get up and running and provide those loans to our customers.”
Once they were able to figure the process out, the bank’s lenders worked directly with small-business owners to help them to obtain the loans and make it an easier process.
She said many of the bigger banks weren’t offering such hands on service, so some of their current customers recommended Neffs to other business owners to get the help they needed. Because the bank was working directly with the SBA and not a third party vendor, they were able to get the money to their customers quickly.
“It was a lot of work, but in the end we got a lot of new customers because of it,” Eisenhauer said.
In all, Neffs helped obtain 370 loans for community businesses to help them maintain payroll and stay in business during the shutdown. One of those companies was a community pharmacy that used its PPP loan to keep its employees on payroll and a few months later were providing COVID vaccines in community.