Arkansas Banks Approve $2B in PPP Loans

Arkansas Banks Approve $2B in PPP Loans
Lorrie Trogden

Arkansas banks had approved approximately 15,000 loans worth more than $2 billion as part of the federal Paycheck Protection Program as of Tuesday, the Arkansas Bankers Association announced. 

“This snapshot shows what Arkansas banks have accomplished in the first two weeks of the program," ABA President and CEO Lorrie Trogden said in a release. "Banks are still vigorously processing PPP applications to support small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19. I am incredibly proud of our bankers who are providing crucial financial assistance to a key sector of Arkansas’ economy, all while working in a challenging socially distant environment.” 

John Allison, chairman and CEO of Home BancShares Inc. of Conway, told Arkansas Business on Tuesday that HBI's Centennial Bank had approved $780 million worth of PPP loans and expected to do at least $1 billion. Centennial employed 1,917 people at the end of 2019, and Allison said a quarter of all employers were working on the PPP applications. 

"I have never seen people working so well together," he said.

The PPP is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act, the federal government's massive program to cushion the financial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic. PPP loans, which are administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, can cover as much as eight weeks of expenses and are forgivable if the money is used to retain workers or for other approved expenses such as mortgages, leases and utilities. 

The ABA announced that at least 14,803 PPP loans had been approved by Tuesday afternoon, with a total value of $2.17 billion. 

“Each one of these loans represents jobs saved, we know that keeping employees on business payrolls will keep Arkansas’ economy moving. Arkansas Banks are here to help. Since day one, banks have engaged as trusted partners to help keep our businesses open and our fellow Arkansans employed," Trogden said in the release.