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Commerce Bank helps small business navigate the PPP process

When the first round of funding from the Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program was depleted in March 2020, Commerce Bank was determined to help as many entrepreneurs as possible—especially those in underserved communities—be ready when another round of PPP funding was approved as part of the CARES Act.

Commerce was able to help 4,529 of its customers secure approximately $1.5 billion in SBA PPP funding, with a median loan size of $64,000, before the first round of funding was depleted in approximately 2 weeks. Commerce then immediately set to work to help those who had not been able to take advantage of the program be prepared should another round be approved, which happened on April 23.

“We understand that many community groups and their members are under significant stress at this time. With additional funding to the PPP program approved from the U.S. Federal Government, we are here to help them understand the complexities of the program so that they can focus on what matters most. Commerce is prepared to assist as many customers as possible,” said Bob Holmes, chairman and chief executive officer for the St. Louis Region. Loan specialists from Commerce conducted a live virtual education session for local community groups titled, “Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): What it is and how it works.” This assistance was greatly appreciated, according to Sonia Lopez Tinoco, director of community & business development for the Hispanic Economic Development Corporation.

“HEDC had been receiving calls from minority businesses seeking direction on how to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and our team relied on the SBA portal for guidance,” said Ms. Tinoco. “This past week, Commerce Bank simplified the information and organized a webinar to educate their clients on the program details. The information that was presented in the webinar was simple and easy to understand - which in turn made it easier to translate the information into Spanish without overwhelming our clients who we are working with to be ready to apply for the next round of funding. We would like to thank Commerce Bank for their dedication to our community!”

Kevin Wilson from America’s SBDC Small Business Empowerment Center agrees. His organization helps urban entrepreneurs start, sustain and grow their businesses in order to create wealth within their communities, especially in distressed and underserved neighborhoods. "Commerce Bank did an outstanding job of demystifying the SBA Paycheck Protection Program for entrepreneurs in underserved communities."

Learn more about the Paycheck Protection Program and how your small business can apply for funding.

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