Citizens Bank supports small businesses with $58 million of SBA Payment Protection Program loans

Published 3:29 pm Monday, April 20, 2020

[Tri-Cities, TN and Knoxville, TN] Citizens Bank has secured approval for SBA Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans for 622 small business customers totaling $58 million. The Bank is accepting new applications at its website in anticipation of Congress approving additional monies for this program. Small businesses may visit for more information or to apply.

PPP loans were created by the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability Act) recently passed by Congress that allocated $350 billion to help small businesses and nonprofits keep workers employed amid the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. These loans may be forgiven if borrowers meet the requirements for maintaining and restoring their payrolls.

Bank president Larry Estepp stated “Financial institutions should be partners for their customers and stand beside them in both the good times and down times. As a community bank, we have a long history of supporting our customers during times such as these. I am proud of how our lending team has quickly risen to the call to assist our customers with PPP loans. We have closed and funded into customer hands over 80% of the approved dollars and will close the remainder this week. It was a challenge during the initial days but despite news coverage to the contrary, the execution of this program in a matter of days is a testimony to the dedication of the men and women at the SBA and at banks throughout the country. We applaud their efforts!”

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Citizens Bank continues its tradition of being a community based financial institution dedicated to the areas it serves. This should not come as a surprise to anyone in the region. Citizens Bank was born in 1934 out of the great depression with 3 basic but steadfast principles, 1) Assurance of safety to depositors; 2) A high standard of service to customers; and 3) A genuine desire to serve the community. These three principals have guided the bank to where it is today, a leading financial institution throughout East Tennessee as well as a national recognized Small Business Administration (SBA) preferred lender.

As an SBA resource to our communities, Citizens Bank has helped many businesses survive past downturns.  President Estepp commented, “We are there for our local communities in times of need. That’s one of the characteristics that distinguishes us from the mega-banks and from some other financial institutions who like to claim to be there for their customers but don’t back it up when the going gets tough.”

Kevin Jessee, chief credit officer, added “As a community bank, participating in the PPP loan program is the right thing to do to help the people and businesses in our communities.  We know in the long-term we will all benefit from healthier small businesses and employees.”