The rise and spread of the coronavirus has undoubtedly brought significant, unplanned hardships and continued change to the Nebraska banking industry. Every aspect of our personal and professional lives has been directly impacted in one way or another. During this challenging time, we have also witnessed our industry step forward and practice what is engrained in our banking DNA: working tirelessly with our customers to help protect and build wealth and support our communities.
I have personally never been more proud to be associated with the banking industry and our NBA member institutions as Nebraska bankers worked to update and implement their pandemic plans, adjust to new travel restrictions, actively alter bank operations, confront mortgage repayment challenges and possible small business closures and proactively rollout new government-approved support programs like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
As I write this column, Nebraska banks have initiated and funded more than 39,000 small business PPP loans totaling more than $3.5 billion. Nebraska bankers worked tirelessly, many of them day and night, to implement the PPP in support of their vulnerable small business customers. These loan commitments were made with little direction or clarity, knowing the loans also placed increased risks on the bank’s long-term profitability.
Our member banks repeatedly stepped up and answered the call! As you probably read, Nebraska banks were recognized nationally by numerous news and media outlets for the early successes in securing PPP loans for their customers. This recognition is truly a testament to the commitment of our Nebraska banks and bankers!
As the PPP loan process and other provisions of the CARES Act play out over the next few months, we know that there will be continued questions and concerns. I would encourage you to reach out to an NBA staff member to discuss these issues. Our team is working directly with representatives from the SBA District Office, the American Bankers Association, various bank regulatory bodies and members of our Nebraska Congressional Delegation to actively raise awareness and seek solutions. With that said, I want to offer a special thanks to our regional SBA staff and our Nebraska Congressional offices for maintaining clear and direct lines of communication throughout this turbulent time. Personally, I can confirm that I and members of our legal/compliance team were on the phone or communicating via email with SBA leadership and our Congressional liaisons almost hourly as the PPP rolled out.
However, PPP is not the only issue where your NBA staff committed time and energy throughout the early stages of the pandemic. Our marketing team constructed a coronavirus webpage for NBA members and managed media relations and interviews, our legal team worked closely on creation of a Governor’s Executive Order to expedite remote notary services, the NBISCO and VEBA staff members continued to sell and service bank and health insurance products and our education team managed the cancellation, postponement and rebooking of multiple programs. I want to offer my personal thanks to each of our staff for helping to navigate these unchartered waters.
On an important but non-coronavirus update, the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance recently announced its intention to designate the Nebraska Bankers Insurance Services Company (NBISCO, the for-profit arm of the NBA) as the Administrator of the Single Bank Pooled Collateral Program (SBPCP) effective July 1, 2020. The SBPCP allows participating banks to aggregate their total public deposits and to pledge collateral against its entire portfolio of public deposits rather than pledging per public entity, thus saving the bank time and money. As the program administrator, NBISCO will collect, confirm and report bank compliance with the mandated pledging requirement, thus streamlining administration for public depositors on a monthly basis. Collateral is pledged to NBISCO. In the event of a bank closure, the pledged collateral would be assigned to NDBF for liquidation and payment to impacted political subdivisions. To learn more about this program, please contact Misty Stoner at firstname.lastname@example.org or (402) 474-1555.
Finally, as we begin to return to business as usual, nothing will be like it was before. We are all working in very unique circumstances. Please let our NBA team know how we can help navigate this new normal.