South Shore Bank employees are yet again dedicating their time to processing Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans so that local businesses can keep their workforce, and themselves, employed during this challenging time. So far, South Shore Bank has processed over 1,500 PPP loans worth $202 million dollars. The loans have helped businesses survive, saving thousands of jobs.
Last Spring, South Shore Bank created a team and built a system from the ground up to implement these loans that the Small Business Administration rolled out in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team consisted of employees from practice areas across the entire bank who balanced their regular jobs while giving time to the PPP rollout. The result was that South Shore Bank began processing loans before other banks even started taking applications.
Marcia Lyons, Business Intelligence Developer, says, “The pandemic situation was unfathomable, and because everyone was in the same boat, everyone wanted to help. The attitude was, ‘We Must.’ So, we worked late, collaborated and figured it out on the fly. It all came together nicely because of the efforts of different teams across the board.”
The “We Must” attitude and South Shore Bank staff’s broad expertise have quickly turned their PPP process into a streamlined system. As South Shore Bank employees work on the second round of PPP loans, it is yet again a synergistic effort that includes the quality control, IT, business intelligence, compliance, commercial lending, retail service and strategic process departments, among others.
“It is invaluable to tap into the knowledge base across the entire bank,” says Christina Kemp, Business Systems Analyst. “We have an amazing collaboration of teams coming together with insight, comments, feedback and opinions that have made the PPP loan process more and more efficient.” Part of the IT department, Kemp has been with South Shore Bank for thirteen years. She started out as a teller, then worked as a retail assistant manager and eventually made the transition to IT. “Having worked in multiple banking areas, we can better understand and support our co-workers,” says Kemp.
Lyons was one of the employees who noticed Kemp’s skills and encouraged her to explore IT. With the bank for twenty years, Lyons started as a teller, moved into IT and then to business intelligence. “I spend a lot of my free time learning about software and I am always looking to improve my skills. South Shore Bank has been an incredible place to work, as they provide an environment that encourages innovation and recognizes employees’ aptitudes.”
South Shore Bank recently green-lighted Business Intelligence Developer Tom Durfee’s concept for further automating the PPP loan system. “The bank ensures that we have all necessary resources and technology, which makes a big difference,” says Durfee. “We worked with all the teams to make sure that the system was capable of doing what we envisioned.” The endeavor was a success, resulting in South Shore Bank being able to turn loans around even more quickly.
South Shore Bank doesn’t just rely on its advanced technology to make the loan process smooth: effective communication between the PPP departments ensures accuracy and minimizes hassle for the clients. Says Daniela De Pina, Bank Secrecy Act Officer: “Because we meet regularly, we can cross-check to eliminate extraneous steps and to make sure that we get everything right the first time. While it is a group effort, clients speak to one point-person they’re comfortable with, so they don’t have to deal with unnecessary or repetitive communications.”
Thanks to the diverse and efficient contributions of the PPP team, businesses both large and small, manufacturers, non-profits, Chambers of Commerce and restaurants have received loans from $1,000 to as great as $10 million. “South Shore Bank combines the technology of a big bank along with the heart of a community bank, and they proved it by getting us our much-needed PPP loan quickly and easily,” says Tim Cahill, President of Quincy Chamber of Commerce.
“During this economic slowdown, we urged our members to talk to their bankers and avail themselves of federal assistance,” says Peter Forman, President and CEO of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce. “We took our own advice and reached out to South Shore Bank to apply for our PPP loan. They made the process easier than expected and walked us through every step of the process. This is just one small example of how South Shore Bank has been serving our communities and helping small businesses throughout the region.”
Written by Erica Ford