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PPP loans benefit small Nebraska businesses

Equitable Bank has helped 375 small businesses across the state get approved for a PPP loan, bringing in $27 million of aid. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)
Equitable Bank has helped 375 small businesses across the state get approved for a PPP loan, bringing in $27 million of aid. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)(KSNB)
Published: Apr. 30, 2020 at 6:34 PM CDT
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Unlike some other places around the country, Nebraska bankers are saying the Paycheck Protection Program is benefiting hundreds of small businesses throughout the state, including a long-term care facility in Buffalo County.

The PPP is a loan through the Small Business Administration and the United States Treasury as part of the CARES Act.

Dave Richardson, community bank president and chief lending officer at Equitable Bank, said they've helped 375 small businesses across the state get approved for a PPP loan, bringing in $27 million of aid.

One of them is Seneca Sunrise, Assisted and Independent Living of Ravenna.

Employees have recently been able to spend more time with residents, putting on fun activities like Glamour Day, where residents could have their hair and makeup done, and photos sent out to their families during this time of lock down.

But without a PPP loan, the atmosphere may be different.

Census is down at the facility because of the coronavirus, which could've meant unemployment for some of their 27 employees.

"In normal times when you're budgeting your business you cut down staff or you cut down hours so you can stay on budget," said Linda Zinnell, administrator at Seneca Sunrise. "This way we can not worry about that budget, and use those dollars to help entertain the residents and take care of them in extra special ways."

Zinnell said the loan will last them about two months, and will cover the costs of payroll, rent and utilities.

Seneca Sunrise is one of many small businesses in Nebraska to get a piece of the $3 billion of aid brought to the state during the first round of the PPP.

Richardson said Equitable Bank was the first to get a PPP loan approved.

"This isn't a financial crisis. This is a health crisis that's turned into a financial crisis because of the shutdowns," Richardson said.

The PPP started with an initial $349 billion in funding, which ran out by April 16. Another $310 billion was allocated for a second round of funding starting April 27.

During the second round, Equitable Bank has helped 100 small businesses get their PPP loans approved.

Richardson said applications opened at 9:30 a.m. that Monday, and many of their clients had money in their accounts by the end of the day.

"I can't imagine what the fallout would've been had these funds not come for some of the businesses with the layoffs and unemployment. And that trickles down to everywhere in our community. It's been the life blood to keep everybody fully employed," Richardson said.

He said once the eight-week period is up on the loans, Equitable Bank will work with the small businesses to get the loans forgiven.

Richardson said this round of PPP is going out at a rate of $3 or $4 billion an hour, and is expected to run out soon.

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