During the Cares Act that was passed in March of 2020, there was a provision for the Paycheck Protection Program that funded small businesses trying to keep people on the payroll instead of putting them on the unemployment line. It allowed small businesses to apply for and obtain loans that could be forgiven if the money was used as the program outlined. Wyoming Community Bank stepped up immediately and began funding small businesses in and out of Fremont County.
“All of our folks have been very active working with customers to help them get the resources that were available under the Cares Act. We tried to cover the communities that we serve as efficiently as we could and to get the money in the hands of customers as quickly as possible,” said Victor Allen, Wyoming Community Bank Senior Vice President. “In the last year, we’ve been able to place over $22 million into the local economy through the Cares Act.”
“Victor was incredibly helpful during the process of applying for the PPP. He was always very responsive and knowledgeable. Although there were changes happening by the day it seemed, Victor always had answers to all my questions and he guided us through the process seamlessly. What impressed us the most was Victor’s research into the CARES Act Funding and how it could benefit our business. Without any prodding on our part, Victor took the liberty to seek out options that could help us and he continues to keep an eye out. It’s this kind of personal attention to our account that makes us confident and pleased with our relationship with WCB.”Amanda Gaudern, Operations Manager | County 10
Wyoming Community Bank was able to issue over 450 loans to small businesses. Statewide, Wyoming had 25,820 loans issued totaling $1,652,900,265! Thousands of jobs were salvaged in Fremont County because of small businesses utilizing the Cares Act and the Paycheck Protection Program.
The small community banks really rose to the occasion. Because of the relationship they have with their customers, they were able to figure out how to get this money processed and into the hands of the small business owners so they could start using it right away. “As a local community bank, we are an extension of our community. So if our communities are doing well, we tend to do well with them. If they’re struggling, we understand those struggles,” states Kendall Hayford, Lander Branch President.
Not only were they able to help small businesses but in the last round of funding, they were able to help farmers and ranchers too. With each round, Congress broadened the requirements which helped the Bank to work with these customers and not just the brick and mortar stores. The latest round was essentially taking care of the people who were in some regards, left out from the first programs.
“The whole premise of the program was to put the funds in business owners’ hands so that they could keep people employed. I know businesses did utilize those funds to keep staff. They were trying to take care of the people that had been taking care of them and helping their business grow. I know one of the folks we helped over in Lander didn’t cut any of their staff and was able to continue to pay them. If it wasn’t for the PPP Program, there could have been more people unemployed and I think we would be seeing more negative effects within our community.”Kendall Hayford, Lander Branch President
In the middle of all of this, Wyoming Community Bank was recognized for its service to small businesses with an SBA Wyoming District Office Director’s Award. When they received the award months ago, they had no time to celebrate. They were still nose to the grindstone helping as many small businesses as they could. But the recognition didn’t go unnoticed.
“It doesn’t stop anything. It is nice to have some recognition. A lot of times you’re just focused on taking care of what’s in front of you and you don’t realize all the work and all the help that you’re giving to the community. When someone else is looking at it from a different point of view, it does make you kind of stop, take a step back and realize that we really did step up. We don’t do any of it for the recognition. We did it all to assist our customers,” said Mr. Hayford.
Congratulations, Wyoming Community Bank, and thank you for all you do!