Subscribe

Over 4,100 San Francisco North Bay small businesses get coronavirus-relief payroll loans

North Bay PPP loans

Here’s what local lenders processed in Paycheck Protection Program loans, including number of jobs supported

American Ag Credit: $14.2 million; 1,701

American River Bank: $5.1 million; 45

Comerica Bank: $27.5 million; 3,249

Pinnacle Bank: $1.3 million; 132

Redwood Credit Union: $31.5 million; 3,197

Westamerica Bank: $44.5 million; 5,971

Note: The loan volumes expressed here are the low end of the range of lending by these institutions, because the loan amounts for named recipients were expressed in the released list as a range of values to protect proprietary business information.

Source: Small Business Administration

More than 4,100 federally-supported Paycheck Protection Program loans totaling at least $1.4 billion were processed in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Mendocino, Lake and Solano counties.

The U.S. Small Business Administration put the number of “jobs saved” in the area at 169,532 in the effort that began in April to help with the devastating number of positions lost as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After much public demand that it release figures nationally, the SBA reported Monday results from the $660 billion effort. That included the details involving 231 North Bay lenders, from 5 Star and Ally to Zion’s, which wrote and oversaw PPP loans of at least $150,000. Some companies got less than that to help pay salaries of their workforces. The highest amount for a single loan could amount to $10 million, but the North Bay’s biggest recipients received amounts ranging from $5 million to $10 million.

The U.S. Treasury declined to release specific, to-the-dollar amounts citing the risk of putting out proprietary information. It also only released data pertaining to loans of over $150,000.

Of all applications processed, North Bay banks shelled out 93 loans valued at $2 million to $5 million, which included Sonoma Media Investments, the North Bay Business Journal’s parent company. The program provided $5 million to $10 million loans to these 18 local businesses:

  • Dutra Group, from Beverly Bank & Trust Co.
  • Il Fornaio, from Signature Bank
  • Francis Ford Coppola Presents, from American Ag Credit
  • Ghilotti Construction, from BMO Harris Bank
  • Hospice by the Bay, from Bank of Marin
  • Mendocino Community Health Clinic, from Savings Bank of Mendocino County
  • Mariana Packing Co., from River City Bank
  • Meyer Corporation, from MUFG Union Bank
  • Nes America, from East West Bank
  • O’Reilly Media from Silicon Valley Bank
  • Petaluma Health Center, from Bank of the West
  • Royal City Bell, from Bank of America
  • Sonic.Net from Bank of America
  • Star H-R, from Bank of the West
  • Township Building Services, from MUFG Union Bank
  • Vintage Wine Estates, from Bank of the West
  • W. Bradley Electric, from Tri Cos. Bank
  • Ygrene Energy Fund, from Summit State Bank

Download: See the whole list of North Bay companies and organization that received SBA PPP loans over $150,000.

Business sectors and agencies ranging from air conditioning and auto repair to touring and wineries benefited from the federal program.

Wineries, which saw visitor counts plummet after a shutdown in tasting rooms starting in March, were among major recipients of low-interest loans. Silver Oak Cellars received $2 million from JP Morgan Chase to cover its payroll. The same amount was doled out from Mechanics Bank to the Jean Charles Boisset Collection as well as the Hess Collection through the efforts of Signature Bank.

Once the measure was hurried through the U.S. Congress and signed by U.S. President Donald Trump in April, applications flooded banks. A few North Bay bank managers had described a rushed, through-the-night scene in which employees worked around the clock to interpret ongoing changes to the program then get the loans through.

In particular, Summit State Bank closed on 527 loans amounting to $95 million by the end of May. The community bank’s loans averaging a balance of $180,000 were reported by the SBA to support more than 6,000 jobs.

“When you think of an average of $180,000, by and large, these are not big payroll companies,” Summit State Bank President and CEO Brian Reed told the Business Journal.

Reed indicated the bank has reached out to its accounts on a regular basis, from the time the program was offered to today’s focus on loan forgiveness for clients. Loans are forgiven if the companies maintain at least three-quarters of their staffs as indicated in the application listed here.

Many small firms applied with the assumption their loans would be forgiven, Reed pointed out. Very few applications were denied. It was all up to whether the companies qualified.

“As long as they adhere to the parameters, there’s not much risk,” Reed said.

The entire debacle generated by the coronavirus outbreak made government intervention an absolute necessity in the eyes of the bankers, much less business owners and members of the public.

“We can’t have a wholesale exodus of businesses,” he said.

The federal government was scrutinized and criticized for doling out taxpayer money to large corporations and even companies with affiliations to congressional members and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Still, the Santa Rosa-based community bank contends its “customer base is primarily small business and nonprofits, and that is who we lent the money to,” the lending team said in a statement.

North Bay PPP loans

Here’s what local lenders processed in Paycheck Protection Program loans, including number of jobs supported

American Ag Credit: $14.2 million; 1,701

American River Bank: $5.1 million; 45

Comerica Bank: $27.5 million; 3,249

Pinnacle Bank: $1.3 million; 132

Redwood Credit Union: $31.5 million; 3,197

Westamerica Bank: $44.5 million; 5,971

Note: The loan volumes expressed here are the low end of the range of lending by these institutions, because the loan amounts for named recipients were expressed in the released list as a range of values to protect proprietary business information.

Source: Small Business Administration

As far as satisfying the need, 20 borrower requests have been submitted to the bank since the deadline was extended.

Reed noted the bank staffers may look back at how they came to the table for their community amid gut-wrenching stories of hard-fought business battles that began with a firestorm environment then a global pandemic.

“It’s hard enough to make a go of it under normal conditions, but first the fires, now this,” he said, referencing the Tubbs fire of 2017. “It makes us proud. I think it has had a positive impact, and it’s not over.”

Banking on little victories

Amy Covin of Wicked Slush based in Healdsburg applied and received $123,000 in a loan through Exchange Bank. Covin has since expanded and changed her business model to suit the demands of customers who may shy away from indoor dining.

“We have learned to pivot,” she said. Her concentration has remained on the Russian River location’s drive-thru business. She has maintained her staff of 40 people kept on to satisfy customer demand for her icy, sugary treat as temperatures get into the 90s in Sonoma County.

Aside from her other financial obligations, Covin credits Exchange Bank’s PPP loan with staying afloat.

“The program is far from perfect. But what government program is?” said Exchange Bank Executive Vice President Michael Sullivan, who serves as the financial institution’s chief credit officer. “You know hindsight is 20/20. But it’s fulfilled much of its intended purpose.”

“The one thing these businesses needed in these conditions was funding,” he said.

The Sonoma County community bank processed 1,700 loans worth $260 million, Sullivan summed up. The bank’s efforts have contributed to saving at least 15,700 jobs, the SBA reported. It continues to receive applications in more of a trickle now.

“The applications come from all types of companies,” Sullivan said.

And a 1% interest rate makes applying hard to pass up.

Going south for small business help

Even financial conglomerates such as Bank of America have indicated the vast majority of their PPP loans totaling $89 million went to small businesses with fewer than 10 employees in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties.

Topping the region’s lending heap at $123 million loaned was Bank of Marin.

Many of Bank of Marin’s loans amounting to about $300 million were earmarked to support more than 28,000 jobs at 1,800 San Francisco Bay Area companies, according to the Marin County bank. The range of industries and nonprofit organizations was vast, including the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley and even the Point Reyes Bird Observatory.

“The overwhelming majority of those submitted successfully obtained funds,” President and CEO Russell A. Colombo said.

All loans received were processed, but the Marin County bank is “no longer accepting new applications,” Colombo added.

The SBA, which guarantees the loans, has extended the program it established in April to Aug. 8. Of the almost $660 billion set aside for relief, about $130 billion remains in the fund.

Federal officials and economists have insisted the program intended to help small businesses weather the lack of customers has prevented the job market from completely collapsing. Gains have been made in unemployment figures in the last few months, but most agree the issues are far from over.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attributes the program for having supporting more than 51 million jobs considered “the drivers of economic growth” in the nation.

“The PPP is an indisputable success for small businesses, especially to the communities in which these employers serve as the main job creators,” SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said in a statement.

Show Comment

Our Network

The Press Democrat
Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Sonoma County Gazette