WYOMISSING, PA. (May 21, 2020) – Customers Bank (NYSE:CUBI), with fintech partners, has for the past several weeks been working with thousands of small businesses to take advantage of the second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan funding. The East Coast-based super community bank, already a national SBA/government guaranteed lending leader, expanded well beyond its geographic footprint originating over 80,000 PPP loans nationwide helping to provide payroll for an estimated 1 million employees across America.
Among the PPP borrowers assisted so far by Customers Bank were more than 50 nonprofit organizations that serve their communities with a variety of education and human services, and other important benefits.
Customers Bank has also made a number of significant donations to the United Way, food banks, and other local organizations fighting the human tragedy of pandemic.
Customers Bank Executive Chairman Jay Sidhu explained the importance of PPP for fueling the American economic recovery: “We think PPP is very important to keep people on the payroll with healthcare so that as the economic recovery begins firms aren’t ramping up with a need to bring back workers who were laid off, or worse, hire and train new team members. Keeping good teams together through this crisis will be a real benefit for the recovery.”
While processing and funding continue, Customers Bank has already originated over 80,000 loans. The average employment of a large sample of those borrowers was about 13 team members/organization – the basis for the estimate of 1 million employees nationwide aided to date.
Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Sam Sidhu said the bank took a two-pronged approach to serve the enormous number of small businesses nationwide: capitalizing on its private banking/personal service model working the phones to help business clients get the PPP loans they need, while simultaneously partnering with multiple fintechs to leverage their web-based application platforms to accelerate the loan process for borrowers outside the footprint and current client base. “This is a bank that prides itself on ‘high tech/high touch,’” said Sam Sidhu. “There is no reason to choose one strategy over the other; both are important approaches to customer relations.”
In other business related to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Customers Bank has been working one-on-one with impacted consumer and commercial borrowers to offer forbearance, and make deferments and loan modifications.
“The impact of travel bans and stay-at-home orders has been devastating to hospitality, restaurants, retail, and personal service industries,” said President & CEO Richard Ehst. “We want to be with them as partners to weather this economic storm.”
The bank is also using its philanthropy to support organizations that are serving impacted families and small businesses. Pandemic related giving to date or in progress includes:
- Feeding America (food banks through the footprint and across the nation)
- Cents Ability (New York City)
- Chinatown Manpower Project (New York City)
- Read Alliance (New York City)
- Rhode Island Community Food Bank
- Rhode Island Free Clinic
- Mary’s Home for Children (Rhode Island)
- TruFund Financial Services (New York City)
- United Way of Berks County
- United Way of Rhode Island
Jay Sidhu said communication with clients and prospects was also key. “You cannot over-communicate at a time like this.” The bank is now working with many of those borrowers to provide new checking accounts, reported Sidhu.
The bank protected team members and clients with work-from-home options; drive-through and appointment banking; and the installation of sneeze guards and other sanitary protections. The bank has maintained its entire workforce and is providing team members with $2,500 interest-free loans to help with short-term economic difficulties.
And, the company is acknowledging the work of its team members under adverse conditions. This week each team member received a $100 Amazon gift card from Jay Sidhu and Dick Ehst. And on Friday, May 22, the bank will celebrate “Financial First Responders Day” with a paid holiday (branches will remain open and those team members have been given a floating holiday).
Sam Sidhu said the spin-up of new technologies for the PPP sprint was a good test of what’s ahead. “Going forward in the new normal, the winners will be those financial institutions that have fully embraced and successfully implemented digital transformation strategies. We are there.”
Jay Sidhu said Customers Bank is optimistic about the nation’s economic recovery. “It will take time and hard work, but this is a special event, not an ordinary recession. There will be ups and downs as the economy re-starts but we believe good bankers and good business executives can partner to find winning solutions. Because of PPP, companies will have good people in place to go back to work immediately with all the skills to do more than survive – they will thrive.”
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About Customers Bank
Customers Bank, a subsidiary of Customers Bancorp, Inc. a bank holding company, is a full-service super-community bank with assets of approximately $12 billion at March 31, 2019. A member of the Federal Reserve System with deposits insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Customers Bank is an equal opportunity lender that provides a range of banking and lending services to small and medium-sized businesses, professionals, individuals and families. Services and products are available wherever permitted by law through mobile-first apps, online portals, and a network of offices and branches. Customers Bancorp, Inc.’s voting common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CUBI. Additional information can be found on the company’s website, www.customersbank.com.