Local banks help businesses, nonprofits cash in on PPP money
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The federal Payroll Protection Program, known as PPP, has offered Steamboat Springs hotel owner Scott Marr a bit of a lifeline as he navigates the uncertain times created by COVID-19.
“It’s a lifesaver,” said Marr, who owns and operates Holiday Inn Steamboat Springs and is a partner in Rex’s American Grill & Bar. “We are still working with a skeleton crew. It just doesn’t make any sense to have more people than that because we’re not allowed to rent to tourists right now. We only have essential workers staying with us, which is a very small number of rooms compared with what we would normally rent.”
Marr said the PPP funds have allowed him to keep paying many of his key, longtime employees who would have been without a job if not for the federal assistance and help he received from local community banks.
“The community banks really came through for everybody,” Marr said. “I can’t say enough about the job that they have done for our local community.”
Lisa Popovich, executive director of Main Street Steamboat Springs, is also thankful for the assistance her local nonprofit received through the PPP program.
“What it means for me is that I can continue working. Most of our operational budget comes from events that we put on,” Popovich said. “We want to make sure that we do everything that we planned on doing this year, because now is not the time to pull back on any support for downtown. This gave us two months of payroll.”
What is the PPP program?
The Paycheck Protection Program authorizes forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The loan amounts will be forgiven as long as:
- The loan proceeds are used to cover payroll costs and most mortgage interest, rent and utility costs over the eight-week period after the loan is made.
- Employee and compensation levels are maintained.
Popovich’s and Marr’s applications were approved during the initial $349 billion round of PPP funding, which ran out in just 14 days. A second round of PPP funding opened Monday and is expected to award another $370 billion to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Steamboat Springs Chamber, Yampa Valley Bank, Alpine Bank, Vectra Bank and Mountain Valley Bank filed 800 applications for businesses, which resulted in $62 million for Routt County.
“Our main goal was really just to get money back into the community,” said Adam Wilson, market president at Vectra Bank. “We’ve all been working diligently to do that pulling 70-, 80- or 90-hour weeks. Our whole goal was to help prop up some payrolls over the next eight weeks.”
Wilson said the banks in the community worked together to make sure their customers were cared for, and he expects that to continue during the second round of PPP funding.
“We never stopped taking applications, and we were anticipating additional funding,” Wilson said. “It is certainly not as crazy, or as busy, as it was in the first round, but there are still a lot of people that need this assistance.”
Wilson didn’t know how many of the 800 applications filed by local banks were approved in the first round but said if the forms were filled out correctly and the program still had money, most were approved.
“It’s probably darn near 100%,” Wilson said. “The only people that didn’t necessarily get funding for the first round were the people that applied essentially the day, or maybe the evening before, the funds ran out.”
The PPP is currently accepting new applications. For those who may have missed the first round, now is the time to work with local banks to prepare an application.
“These four banks brought over $60 million into the valley supporting an estimated 7,400 jobs for two months,” said Steamboat Springs Chamber Executive Director Kara Stoller in a news release. “These leaders are a testament to the strength and dedication that will help us get through this devastating time. Accessing forgivable loans is a key component to recovery for local businesses and directly supporting employees.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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