The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the global economy, placing millions of Americans on unemployment. In response, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law on March 27th providing over $2 trillion in economic relief.

One of the programs established by the CARES Act is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The program is implemented by the Small Business Administration and supported by the Department of Treasury to provide small businesses with funds to maintain payroll and cover applicable overhead. Funds are eligible for use on a business’s rent, utilities, and interest on mortgages, but prioritizes job retention by providing up to eight-weeks of payroll costs, including benefits.

Union State Bank (USB) was one of many banks assisting small business customers in applying for PPP loans. Bank-wide USB was able to approve over $27 million in loans to community businesses, with the average loan size being approximately $126,000.00.

The Payroll Protection Program’s initial application period opened on April 3rd. For many of Union State Bank’s customers the PPP program provided assistance at just the right time. Shannon Martin, Director of the Burford Theater Arts, shared some of the issues facing the historic theater.

“We had to cancel or postpone 28 events in March and April.  The PPP loan will help get us through this time with very little income for our operations. We appreciate the work of Union State Bank in helping us process this loan.  It was very streamlined and easy to accomplish,” Martin said.

Prairieview Christian Camp was also approved for a PPP loan, as it is currently unable to host the youth camps, business retreats, weddings, and other large group gatherings it has become known for.

“From start to finish I felt like (USB) had our best interests at heart, and were trying to help us out. I really appreciate their diligence in getting this taken care of for us,” explained Phil Weece, the camp’s Executive Director.

While the Payroll Protection Program issues funds in the form of loans, the loan is fully forgiven if the business can show the money was used on program approved expenditures. At least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll.

“Norm’s Coffee Bar here in Newton employees ten people from our community. In our growth moments we feel like that’s an incredible opportunity for our little coffee shop to contribute to the flourishing of our community. With the pandemic it also felt like a lot of weight and responsibility to be able to continue employing the people that work for Norm’s. Being able to have the PPP loan to take care of our employees through these uncertain times was just a huge burden lifted off of our shoulders,” said Tami Lakey, owner of Norm’s Coffee Bar and customer of Midland Bank – a division of Union State Bank.

Funds for the PPP program were initially capped at $350 billion, a limit which was reached within two weeks of the programs start. An unheard-of pace for commercial lending, which could have left many business owners unclear about the program’s application process and record keeping requirements.

Union State Bank loan officers and support staff worked together to locally process the PPP applications in a way that was understandable for the client, yet highly efficient.

“I was more than pleased with the level of personal service I received from my banker to walk through the steps of getting the loan done quickly and efficiently. They provided answers to my questions all the way from beginning to the funding in my account,” said FM Abrams, owner of Affordable Septic Tank Service.

An additional $310 billion was approved for the Paycheck Protection Program on April 24th.

“We continue to work with our customers throughout all Union State Bank markets to assist with their financial needs. Our communities rely on healthy and growing businesses. We are proud to be there for those businesses, particularly during these trying times, said Eric Kurtz, President / CEO, Union State Bank.


About Union State Bank

Founded in 1908, Union State Bank has banking locations serving communities of Arkansas City, Newton, Udall, Winfield and Wichita in Kansas and Bartlesville and Edmond in Oklahoma. Union State Bank offers a full range of electronic, deposit and cash management services, as well as business and agriculture, commercial real estate, construction, mortgage, residential and consumer loans.