BELOIT—Area banks have stepped up to provide millions of dollars in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Although the government program ran out of funds on Thursday—spending $349 billion—hundreds of local businesses and thousands of employees in the Stateline Area will benefit from it.

The PPP was designed to provide cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintained their payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. If employers maintained their payrolls, the loans could be forgiven, which would help workers remain employed and businesses stay afloat. Although one of the criticisms of the program was that it helped mostly big business, local banking officials said the majority of their clients were small businesses.

SENB Bank, with branches at 2215 Cranston Road, Beloit, and 5206 Elevator Road, Roscoe, as well as the Quad Cities; Moline, Ill.; Bettendorf, Davenport and Buffalo, Iowa, processed more than 172 applications for PPP loans, providing help to small business customers and an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 employees. For the Stateline Area, it totaled about $12 million in relief to about 80 local businesses, said SENB Bank President and CEO Daniel Daly.

Daly estimates most of the loans were to small businesses, with three fourths of the loans being under $50,000 and half under $25,000.

Beginning the week of April 6, Daly said the bank started processing and funneling the loans.

“I’ve gotten calls and emails from customers thanking us,” Daly said. “Everybody is fighting for the survival of their business.”

First National Bank and Trust, headquartered in Beloit, received about 400 to 500 loan requests, according to Vice President and Small Business Portfolio Manager Steph Lawton.

With 16 branches in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, Lawton estimates First National Bank and Trust provided between $50 to $70 million in small business loans.

Blackhawk Bank processed more than 600 applications and obtained approval for more than $70 million in loans to area businesses through its 11 branches located from Janesville to Elgin. Blackhawk Bancorp President and CEO Todd James estimates 5,000 to 10,000 employees benefited from the funds. The PPP loans accounted for more than 10 percent of the bank’s total loan portfolio.

“We had folks working 15-hour days getting this done. It was a group effort,” James said, adding the program was a time for community banks to shine.

The day before the applications were accepted, Blackhawk hosted a webinar on the loan program with 500 attendees present. Prior to the loan program, the bank had gone out on calls to discuss business impacts with its clients and how to develop plans for the long-term.

Once the loan program opened up, employees from other banking departments were pulled into the credit department to assist processing the loan applications.

The good news, James said, is only a handful of businesses were still in the process of applying for loans when the funds ran out.