Letter to the Editor: We can’t wait: Now is the time to support our local businesses

by Todd Marksberry, Canvas Credit Union

To the Editor:

I’m writing today to advocate for quick action on behalf of the heroes of our American economy, small and local businesses. As the President & CEO of Canvas Credit Union, we serve over 4,000 business members across Colorado. We exist to serve our members and right now these organizations are experiencing acute frustration and pain. As has been well publicized, the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program’s (aka the PPP Loan) funding was exhausted yesterday.

I’m one person seeing the pain of many. In this unprecedented time, there are many things we cannot control. What we can control is how we respond. Now is the time to respond and to respond quickly.Even before this funding issue arose, our credit union was not able to serve our business members through this program. To give a bit of background, as part of the CARES Act, the U.S. Government allocated $349,000,000,000 of stimulus funds for businesses with up to 500 employees to help soften the economic impacts of COVID-19. I believe that our leaders created this program to help the backbone of our economy, our small business owners. The execution of that program has been challenging for some financial institutions including Canvas, but most importantly for business owners and their employees.

As the bill was drafted, and ultimately enacted into law, the government appointed the financial institutions of the U.S. to act as their agents to receive and process applications and disburse funds for PPP Loans. The first set of draft rules for this program were published just hours before the SBA began directing businesses to apply with banks and credit unions, unfortunately putting financial institutions like Canvas in a spot where we lacked necessary information. Small businesses were directed by the SBA to begin applying for loans at credit unions and community banks, even though those institutions didn’t have access to the critical information and systems they needed to be able to process these loans. For example, Canvas only received access to the SBA’s online portal this week, just before funding for the program ran out, and the SBA has still not issued a final rule or all of the necessary details on how these loans will be closed and funded. As we move forward, ensuring the SBA can handle the volume of requests will be critical.

There are moments in life when patience matters. This is not that time. I want to encourage our leaders in Congress and at the Small Business Administration to be impatient and act expediently. This is not about loans. It’s about caring for the employees of these businesses. It’s about putting food on their tables. It’s about these owners living up to their promises they’ve made to their customers. It’s about seeing the American dream flourish. We need to not only listen, but act.

Credit unions are the first responders of financial services. We are ready to stand with the businesses we serve. We need funding and the guidance to put our support in motion through the PPP. We can’t do that alone and I’m calling for the leaders of our country to demand action.

In a time when so much is uncertain, we can act to bring peace of mind. We can provide more support and stand with those that have made our communities great. At Canvas, we will not stop working to find ways to support our business community. Serving Colorado small businesses is what we are all about. Until we have answers and new funding, we are offering other options including loan payment deferments for our business members.

To our more than 4,000 business members, we stand with you. You matter. We hear you. We won’t stop working to serve you.

To members of Congress and the Small Business Administration, please stand with me and with so many business owners and their employees. Show your impatience for solutions that matter and act now. I am optimistic that the spirit of this great country to take extraordinary action in the face of challenge will inspire us in this moment to work together.

As I always say, the best is yet to come.

Be well,

Todd Marksberry
President/CEO, Canvas Credit Union

About Canvas Credit Union (http://canvas.org):
Canvas Credit Union (Formerly Public Service Credit Union) is a safe and insured financial institution with over $2.7 billion in assets and more than 250,000 members. Canvas provides a full array of financial products and services, including savings, checking, loans, mortgages, and online and mobile options. Serving Colorado communities for more than 80 years, Canvas currently has 29 branches.

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