By: Matt Gubicza, SVP and Team Leader, Commercial Banking, Univest Bank and Trust Co.
During challenging times, it’s especially important to reflect on the lessons learned to help prepare for the future. 2020 was a year like no other and as we look back at how we navigated the unexpected, what comes to light is how we were able to support our customers in new ways. This ability to adapt to the needs of our customers highlighted what matters most to our team – trusted relationships. Relationships were the foundation on which the bank was built in 1876 and our commitment was, is, and always will be building connections in the communities we serve. One of the best things about Univest is that we are local which gives our customers access to local decision makers who live, work and play in the same communities they serve. This allows us to build sincere relationships with business owners – who are truly the heart of the community.
Supporting businesses in need
During the height of the pandemic, we were able to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program. More than 175 employees from across the company worked tirelessly to secure funding for 93% of our applicants. Thanks to the team’s hard work and dedication, we successfully originated 2,550 loans totaling approximately $510 million. This funded an estimated 46,700 jobs in our local communities.
While these loans were a much-needed lifeline, the businesses hit hardest by the pandemic continue to feel it today. In many cases, those businesses – mainly in the hospitality, travel, small retail, and experiential retail industries – are still seeing revenue down 50-80%. We’ve been able to support the customers who have been severely impacted by deferring principal and interest payments, assisting with securing funding through the PPP and EIDL programs and providing business advice based on our experience.
Helping businesses grow
Amid all of this, we’ve continued to lend and serve customers’ needs. After the initial shock and impact of the pandemic, many businesses were able to pivot and succeed in the work-from-home economy. These businesses have been able to maintain staff as well as strong cash flow. For those companies, 2020 has been a time of investment. They’ve been afforded the opportunity to make strategic investments and/or push their intended 2020 growth strategy despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. We have also seen businesses using their resources and connections to assist with PPE development and other necessary materials to operate on the front lines of the pandemic. In many cases, Univest has provided creative financial solutions to make those investments happen, helping to boost our economy and protect our front lines at the same time.
For the commercial bank at Univest, our approach has been and continues to be focused on helping our clients, whatever that takes. During good times, businesses may not think much about their bank, but in times of crisis, it quickly becomes clear that they need a reliable partner to make it to the other side. The pandemic created unprecedented challenges, but our team
built customized solutions and uncovered opportunities for customers to keep their businesses moving forward. While the pandemic continues into 2021, we remain dedicated to maintaining great relationships and building new ones as we help our customers achieve success.
Univest Bank and Trust Co. is Member FDIC, Equal Opportunity and SBA Preferred Lender.