Consortium of 11 Community Banks Deliver Lifeline to Thousands of Small Businesses through CARES Act
DUBUQUE, Iowa, April 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- “We are currently processing approximately $1.5B in Paycheck Protection Program loans,” said Bruce K Lee, President and CEO of Heartland Financial USA, Inc. After receiving over 7,000 requests for loans under the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program in 72 hours, the 11 community banks operated by Heartland, stopped accepting new requests for the program on Monday afternoon. Lee stated, “Our customers and communities are depending on us now more than ever, and our teams across the company have stepped up and worked around the clock to provide a lifeline to our customers as they navigate the provisions of the CARES Act.”
Unlike many banks across the country, Heartland’s 11 community banks, located in small towns and big cities from Minnesota to California, began accepting applications for the Paycheck Protection Program early on Friday morning just hours after the SBA published interim rules for participation. “We had been closing monitoring developments and preparing to be agile to accommodate the many changes introduced by the SBA, so that we were able to support our customers and communities during this time of need,” added Lee. “Our small business customers across the country have struggled to navigate the complexity and changing requirements of the of the Paycheck Protection Program and we have hosted educational webinars, built resource centers on our bank websites and individually consulted with customers to provide support and assist them in calculating payroll costs and completing applications correctly,” he said.
On Monday, April 6, the Federal Reserve released a statement committing the central bank to providing financing to lenders processing the $350B Paycheck Protection Program. Additionally, early on Tuesday morning, April 7, U.S. Treasury Security Steven Mnuchin, told Fox Business Network, that over 3,000 lenders were participating in the $349 billion small business loan program and the Federal Reserve and Treasury were working to set up facilities to support main street and municipal borrowers. Mnuchin said, “If you can’t get the loan today or tomorrow, don’t worry there will be money. If we run out of money, we’ll go back for more. There is extraordinary demand.”
Lee commented, “It’s encouraging to see our government agencies rapidly responding to the demand for the program and recognizing that banks, even those like Heartland that have strong liquidity and are well capitalized, do not have unlimited resources to meet the needs of customers during this crisis alone.”
Heartland Banks are not only relying on the government and the Cares Act to support customers and employees as they battle the current COVID-19 pandemic. They have delivered relief programs for consumers and business customers that include, waiving account maintenance and ATM fees, deferral on loan payments and waiving penalties on early redemption of CDs. And in addition to moving most employees to work from home arrangements, the company’s liberal pandemic time off program provides 100% compensation through May 31, for employees who are unable to work due to illness, school and daycare closures or other reasons caused by the pandemic. Heartland also is paying front line workers in their branches and call centers a premium and has offered 100% coverage for health care expenses related to COVID-19. Lee shared, “Our employees take care of our customers every day and are the reason for our success, and during these unprecedented times, our number one priority is the health and safety of the Heartland family. We want our employees to take care of themselves, their families and each other and not worry about a paycheck. Our employees have peace of mind knowing – We’ve got them covered.”
About Heartland Financial USA, Inc.
Heartland Financial USA, Inc. is a diversified financial services company with assets of $13.2 billion. The company provides banking, mortgage, private client, investment and insurance services to individuals and businesses. Heartland currently has 114 banking locations serving 83 communities in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, Colorado, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, Texas and California. Additional information about Heartland Financial USA, Inc. is available at www.htlf.com.
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