Washington, D.C. (April 7, 2020) — ICBA Chairman Noah Wilcox, president, CEO and chairman of Grand Rapids State Bank and its holding company, Wilcox Bancshares Inc., both based in Grand Rapids, Minn., and ICBA Vice Chairman Brad Bolton, president, CEO, and senior lender for Community Spirit Bank in Red Bay, Ala., represented the nation’s nearly 5,000 community banks at a virtual meeting held at the White House with President Donald J. Trump to discuss the status of the Paycheck Protection Program created by the recently enacted CARES Act.
“During these unprecedented times I want you to know that Grand Rapids State Bank and the nation’s community banks stand shoulder to shoulder with their small business customers, consumers and the communities we serve,” Wilcox, a fourth-generation community banker, said during the meeting. “We know according to an informal survey that more than one-third of all community banks were unable to access the system since it was made available, meaning these community banks were boxed out and unable to serve their communities and customers. Just imagine the awesome power and the difference we could make if 100 percent of those banks had access to the system.”
Wilcox went on to say that if there’s a need to expand the program, it should be done expeditiously. Bolton, a second-generation community banker, followed Wilcox by noting that community banks make half of the nation’s small business loans.
“Being accessible and responsive to our customers is what community bankers do, and I am proud to wear the title of a community banker,” Bolton said. “I ask that you deploy the resources necessary to get every community bank in the country in the system. I am confident that if we can unleash the full power of all community banks, small businesses will be restored, paychecks will be restored, and our communities can begin recovering and flourishing.”
ICBA has been a vocal advocate for community banks and strongly advocated the establishment of the PPP as part of the CARES Act. ICBA’s goal is to ensure that all community banks across the country have the capability to access the system and help their customers during this critical time.
“We thank President Trump and the administration for including ICBA and our leadership community bankers in today’s White House meeting,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said following the meeting. “One community bank left out of this program due to technical issues is one too many. Community banks have the awesome capacity to help during this time, so let’s work together to ensure we do everything possible for American small business customers during this critical time.”
The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. With more than 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ nearly 750,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding more than $5 trillion in assets, nearly $4 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.4 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers’ dreams in communities throughout America. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org