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Nebraska community bank one of nation's PPP leaders in April

Posted at 6:24 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 19:24:16-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — When the Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans started on April 3rd, a small community Nebraska bank was one of the nation’s leaders right out of the gate.

Union Bank & Trust, a community bank based out of Lincoln, was the second-largest PPP lender in the nation over the first 72-hours after the PPP program’s launch, with more than 150 staff approving most of these loans from the confines of their own homes.

According to the Nebraska district of the United States Small Business Association, UBT approved more than 800 loans over the first three days.

“I was completely shocked, I didn’t believe the employee that told me that the first time,” said Jason Muhleisen, a UBT family owner and Vice President. “It’s really cool to see and it is great. We’re very excited to receive this recognition and it makes you feel great that your employees can have pride in what they’ve done. They knew this would be a lifeline for our customers and knew there would be a high demand so they worked tirelessly day and night to assure our customers got these funds.”

According to UBT, the average loan size was $40,000, with 86-percent of all applications under $200,000. 82-percent of the loans went to existing customers.

“We were working with customers, gathering information we thought we needed to gather and getting as prepared as we could be for the initial launch,” Muhleisen said. “This is helping them with payroll, it’s helping them with rent during this crisis. It’s a lifeline that was needed and we’re very excited to provide it to them.”

“It’s always good to hear how successful some of our institutions are and it is a wakeup call for other institutions,” said Leon Milobar, the District Director in Nebraska for the United States Small Business Administration.

Milobar said he fact UBT is an established SBA lender and a community-run bank and knew their customers helped them out early on compared to some of the larger banks.

“We have a tendency to do a better job, our community banks do a wonderful job of providing that service our customers need,” Milobar said. “This is one of the things that helps us here in Nebraska. They’re closer to their customers, they know their customers.”

At UBT, Muhleisen says that the bank wasn’t approving loans at a lower standard. In the two months since starting the program, UBT’s given out 2,700 PPP loans for more than $380 million.

“The volume has definitely decreased,” Muhleisen said. “We’ve served a lot of our Nebraska customers and there are still a few that trickle in but it is not the onslaught we had on April 3rd.”

Union Bank & Trust wasn’t the only Nebraska bank that was one of the largest PPP lenders in the country. Pinnacle Bank also ranked near the top. Muhleisen said this didn’t surprise him.

“As Nebraskans we look out for each other, we care about our communities and it just shows,” he said.

Last week the President signed the Payment Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, which extends the time period PPP loan borrowers can spend loan proceeds from eight weeks to 24.

Watch reporter Phil Bergman’s story in the above video.