Small businesses are at the core of the American economy – and according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, create two of every three U.S. jobs each year. However, in 2020, small businesses were largely impacted by the global pandemic. These hard-hit businesses quickly felt the financial strain and faced difficult decisions as local and statewide lockdowns were put into place.
When the Federal government introduced the Paycheck Protection Program, small businesses saw a lifeline to retain valued employees while maintaining the ability to serve their communities through new channels.
Regions Bank associates worked tirelessly to quickly stand up the bank’s application portal and provide bankers with the resources to connect with business customers as they helped them navigate the application process. Regions bankers proactively reached out to business customers as the PPP launched, providing early and efficient access to the Program.
Regions customers were among the first to begin receiving loans and their bankers have been at their side along the way. Many Regions customers have already received loan forgiveness and the bank continues to process those applications.
Banking is still a personal business and we want to be in front of clients. I can’t overemphasize the importance of those local bankers.
Ronnie Smith, Regions head of Corporate Banking
Regions’ local market approach to supporting small business customers throughout the pandemic, whether through Branch Business Banking, Commercial Business Solutions, SBA Lending or Ascentium Capital, is in providing customized solutions to meet financial goals. Regions teams work together as one in providing seamless services to small businesses during and beyond the global pandemic.
John Turner, president and CEO of Regions, recently sat down with Regions head of Corporate Banking Ronnie Smith to discuss the importance of relationship banking and supporting small businesses during and beyond the pandemic.
“One of the things that I’m most proud of is the way we team together,” said Turner. “I’ve watched that evolve over a number of years. I think our focus on local bankers working with industry and product experts to deliver unique ideas and solutions to customers, regardless of how small or large the customer is, really differentiates us from our competition. I talk about that a lot and I hear it from our customers.”
“It’s the best of both worlds,” said Smith. “When you think about building relationships on a local basis, it’s so important. Banking is still a personal business and we want to be in front of clients. I can’t overemphasize the importance of those local bankers.”
With a growing focus on supporting small businesses, Regions recently hired Caroline Taylor to expand the SBA Lending team, which is part of Corporate Banking. Dedicated SBA bankers are available to guide small business customers through the resources offered by the SBA, as well as offer specialized lending products that are backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Additionally, in April 2020, Regions Bank closed on its acquisition of national equipment finance firm Ascentium Capital. Based in Kingwood, Texas, Ascentium Capital is a provider of small business lending and equipment financing solutions across industries, including franchise and QSR, healthcare, hospitality, commercial vehicles, and technology.
“We continue to integrate that entity along the way and I’m excited about the early returns that we’re seeing as Ascentium has a chance to provide that service to our clients, and we get a chance to provide our banking services to the Ascentium clients,” said Smith.
Once fully integrated, small business customers throughout the U.S. will have access to the full suite of banking solutions across Ascentium Capital and Regions Bank.
As vaccination rates increase and the U.S. begins to put the pandemic in the rearview mirror, small businesses will thrive once again, and Regions will continue to help them achieve their financial goals. Regions believe when customers and communities thrive, everyone thrives.