Tough times made easier with the help of First Fidelity Bank
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and our nation started to shut down, many small businesses were in jeopardy of having to close up shop and lay off their employees. When the Small Business Association (SBA) announced the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), providing loans for small businesses so they could keep their employees on payroll, First Fidelity Bank (www.ffb.com) (FFB) jumped at the chance to help facilitate those loans.
FFB lenders, literally, worked day and night processing loans submitted to the SBA portal in order to meet the short deadlines for funding. They knew the funds would be quickly allocated, so they wanted to make sure they could help as many people, customers and non-FFB customers alike, as they could. When everything was said and done, FFB was able to provide over 1,800 forgivable loans worth over $180 million.
Though thousands of small businesses were able to keep their employees on payroll with the help of the PPP loan program, Oklahoma legislators saw that many businesses still needed help during this difficult time. So they created the Oklahoma Business Relief Program (OBRP), which offered up to $25,000 in grant money to qualifying businesses. Again, First Fidelity Bank was there to help facilitate those grants. Knowing the funds would quickly run out, FFB called for employees to help input applications into the OBRP system. Many FFB employees volunteered their time and, through their efforts, FFB was able to help more than 150 businesses receive grants totaling more than $2.5 million.
First Fidelity Bank’s mission is to strengthen their community by fulfilling financial dreams for generations. When the worst pandemic of our lifetime hit the communities where FFB employees live and work, they stepped up to the plate and did everything they could to make sure the small business, the backbones of our communities, were able to keep their doors open and their employees paid.
After the dust settled, First Fidelity Bank followed up with several businesses for which they were able to process PPP loans and OBRP grants. They heard stories off survival and success, and of several businesses who were non-FFB customers before the pandemic who had switched their accounts to FFB after their original banks would not help them with a PPP loan or OBRP grant. FFB asked some of those business owners if they would be willing to participate in a testimonial campaign. The “As a Friend” (www.ffbfriend.com) campaign was created to share the success stories of some of the companies who were able to survive the pandemic and pay their employees.
FFB also partnered with the City of Oklahoma City to help more than 350 local companies get assistance with more than $22 million through the OKC Small Business Continuity Program.
“We’re grateful that First Fidelity Bank was able to help so many businesses during this difficult time,” said Lee Symcox, FFB’s President and CEO. “We know the important role small businesses play in our communities and how vital it is that they are able to keep their staff on payroll. There was no question that FFB was going to be a participant bank in the PPP and OBRP programs.”