We at ValueMetrik CFO want to send a shout out to all our community bankers here in the Arkansas River Valley and across the country. We all know that healthcare professionals around the country are on the front line of this war against COVID19 and that they are our true heroes. However, our bankers have been brought into the battle of helping small businesses survive over the last couple of weeks, and they have emerged as our “small business heroes.”
Bankers have been put in a very difficult position recently. It’s almost as if there’s no way for our community bankers to win in this situation. Their small business customers are flooding in loan applications requesting funding immediately while banks generally are not staffed to handle the surge in volume and the rules surrounding the new loan program have been a challenge to digest.
It’s been a “pressure-cooker” situation for bankers to be sure. We at ValueMetrik CFO, like many other financial management consultants and accountants have been coordinating with many bankers and small businesses in our area to help arrange loans under the new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) recently. Throughout, we’ve witnessed bankers going above and beyond to do everything they can to be responsive to the needs of their small business customers. Bankers have been working long days. Most of them worked all weekend last weekend, so many have been working for 10 days, straight, as of the date of this message.
Bankers will get this job done for their customers. But even after doing all the work and figuring out all the new rules, let’s face it, this is not a hugely desirable rush of business for banks. That is, bankers are straining to make all these loans that stand to generate only very low amounts of interest income. The interest rates are extremely low and many of the loans may only be on the books for two or three months. As a former banker, I know that’s not a way for banks to make money, so it seems there’s little, if any, financial upside for banks in making PPP loans.
That being the case, PPP loans are one thing bankers are working their butts off for really just to serve others, and we want them to know we appreciate them for that. Concerning is that, instead of receiving praise and “thank you” right now, we suspect most of them are just on the receiving end of frustration and complaints from impatient, if not desperate, business owners.
It’s understandable because small business owners are nervous, upset, and scared about the uncertainty surrounding us right now. But we at ValueMetrik CFO have been so impressed by the efforts we’ve witnessed recently by our community bankers to rise to the challenge. We appreciate their efforts and we know they are doing their best to take care of our small business community. In our view, they are motivated not by an opportunity to make money, but by their sense of duty to our community and their desire to be a part of the solution. Bankers are working to do the right thing regardless of the unprecedented risk they may be taking in making these loans and regardless of a general lack of appreciation for their efforts.
For those reasons, we think our small business community should see our bankers as the small business heroes they are and go out of their way to support and thank our community bankers for putting forth so much effort to help us fight this battle. But, hey, don’t pick up the phone and call our bankers to thank them right now… they don’t have time to chit chat. Don’t flood their inboxes with long “thank you” emails. Instead, just be patient. Know they are working hard for you right now. They are very aware of how time is of the essence in getting PPP loans out to small businesses. Respond to their requests for information as quickly as possible and be kind and courteous in your communication. Let them know you appreciate them by the way you interact with them while they’re working their butts off for you. Then, when the moment is right… and you’ll know when that is, please be sure to express appreciation for all their efforts.
Take Care and Be Safe,
Darren Brewer, ValueMetrikCFO