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COVID-19 RESPONSE & UPDATES

NOTE: IN THE NEAR FUTURE WE WILL BEGIN ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR PPP FORGIVENESS. WE EXPECT FINAL GUIDANCE FROM THE SBA IN THE UPCOMING WEEKS. IN THE MEANTIME, SEE BELOW FOR WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU NOW! PLEASE CONTINUE TO CHECK BACK FOR FURTHER UPDATES, OR REACH OUT TO YOUR GCB LOAN OFFICER FOR ASSISTANCE WITH QUESTIONS/CONCERNS. 


June 8, 2020 - U.S. Small Business Administration Enacts PPP Flexibility Act

SBA, in consultation with Treasury, will promptly issue rules and guidance, a modified borrower application form, and a modified loan forgiveness application implementing these legislative amendments to the PPP.  

Click here to read the entire press release.

 

So what does this mean? We've compiled a few FAQ's to help:

Q1: I’ve found the application on-line, can I go ahead and fill it out to be prepared?

     A1: No, thankfully the original 11 page application is being reworked to something more manageable for a small business owner to complete without having to engage their CPA. As soon as it is available we will post it to our website

Q2: What documents do I need to start sending to you?

   A2: At this time, we ask that you wait for us to receive further direction from SBA on what is needed. This information should be outlined on the new revised PPP forgiveness application

Q3: What if I have employees who don’t want to come back to work?

    A3: Please be sure to document where you have offered the employees their original job, at their previous pay rate and the date it was declined.

Q4: Will you be sending out instructions via email to borrowers about our forgiveness applications?

   A4: Due to the overwhelming volume of applications that we received, we have asked that you check our website for the most up to date information.

Q5: How can I change from the 8 week period to the 24 week period now being offered?

    A5: At this time, we are awaiting additional guidance from the SBA and US Treasury on how to handle that change.


June 5, 2020 - PPP Applications No Longer Accepted

As of Friday, June 5th Greater Community Bank is no longer accepting applications for the Paycheck Protection Program Loan. If you have an existing PPP Loan, please reach out to your GCB loan officer for assistance with questions/concerns. 


Testimonial: Scattered, Covered & Open for Business

Steve Hutchens [President/CEO of Southern Legacy Waffles, LLC] shares his feedback on the Paycheck Protection Program and working with Greater Community Bank:

"In our 55 years of the being the oldest (and largest) Waffle House franchisee in the nation, we’ve undergone numerous economic impacts - from the 1970’s oil crisis to natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, & snowstorms - all of which left us with too many customers and not enough employees to serve them.

The COVID-19 pandemic is the first time we’ve ever experienced having too many employees and not enough business. Thankfully, Donna McEntyre at Greater Community Bank called me with information on the SBA Paycheck Protection Program…

Donna and her team guided us through every step of the process, and because of Greater Community Bank… We were able to keep our doors open and the majority of our employees, and their benefits, intact.”

We are proud to have served over 300 loans, impacted over 8,000 jobs, and put $47.5M back in our communities through the PPP!


May 26, 2020: Beginning June 1st, our new hours of operation will be:

Monday-Friday
Drive-Thru 8:00am-5:00pm | Lobby 9:00am-4:00pm*

*Exclusive Banking Hour for Seniors (age 60+)
Monday - Friday 9:00-10:00am

Saturday
Rome Main Office Drive-Thru will be open from 9:00am-12:00pm

Our East Rome Office will continue to offer drive-thru service only, and our Cartersville Office will continue to meet with customers by appointment only until further notice.

As a reminder, our ATMs located in Rome and Calhoun do also have cash/check deposit-taking capability and are available 24/7. Contactless banking is also available through our 24/7 Mobile and Online Banking services.


May 13, 2020: SBA Announces Safe Harbor for PPP Borrowers with Loans for Less than $2M

Our friends at the American Bankers Associate (ABA) shared some updates on the PPP "safe harbor" declaration today. The ABA writes:

Following the recent announcement that the Small Business Administration would review any Paycheck Protection Program loans made in amounts exceeding $2 million, the agency today issued guidance extending an automatic safe harbor to borrowers receiving PPP loans with an original principal amount of less than $2 million. These borrowers “will be deemed to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith,” SBA said in updates to its PPP FAQ today.

Borrowers that received PPP loans for amounts over $2 million will be subject to review by the SBA for compliance with program requirements, including the certification of economic need. “If SBA determines in the course of its review that a borrower lacked an adequate basis for the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request, SBA will seek repayment of the outstanding PPP loan balance and will inform the lender that the borrower is not eligible for loan forgiveness,” SBA said.

The guidance comes shortly before a May 14 deadline for PPP borrowers who did have access to other sources of capital to return funds. SBA added that borrowers who repay their loans after receiving notification from the SBA will not be subject to administrative enforcement or referrals to other agencies. Additionally, SBA’s determination regarding the necessity of the loan request will not affect the SBA loan guarantee. 

Read the updated FAQs


May 12, 2020: PPP Update

For nearly 2 months now, the Paycheck Protection Program has continued to be available to small businesses, nationwide, in need of assistance due to the ongoing pandemic. To date, we are proud to have helped nearly 300 business and put $47.3M back into our local economy through the PPP.

We have committed to stay abreast of any new information regarding the PPP in an effort to keep you, our customer, informed. Recently, media coverage has left many with questions regarding the PPP and forgiveness guidance. In compliance with recent SBA guidelines, Greater Community Bank advises small business owners to be very cautious with the PPP dollars they spend, noting the importance of understanding exactly which dollar amounts will be forgiven and which amounts will become additional business debt. Recent SBA guidance encourages PPP loan recipients to ensure at least 75% of the loan funds are being spent on payroll costs to qualify for forgiveness. It is also important to note if a small business is unable to bring back the same number of employees from the pre-pandemic time, the amount eligible for forgiveness will be reduced.    

Additionally, the SBA announced on May 5th the “safe harbor” period has been extended an additional 7 days to conclude on May 14, 2020. The SBA deemed PPP loans repaid during the safe harbor period are presumed to have been requested in good faith.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation and ask that you continue to check back for additional updates. 


May 1, 2020: PPP Update

As the PPP reopened this past Monday, there continues to be additional funding available. This is a fluid situation and funds could be depleted at any time. We encourage you to contact your Loan Officer for more information at this time. If you do not have a GCB loan officer, please email [email protected] and someone will get in touch with you.  Please continue to check back for additional updates.

To date, we are pleased to have helped over 297 businesses and put back over $47.3Million into our community through the PPP.


April 28, 2020 - SBA Press Release Update on PPP Loans

The Small Business Administration recently released a press release regarding PPP Loans in excess of $2,000,000. Click here to view.


April 27, 2020: Round 2 of Paycheck Protection Program to Reopen at 10:30am Monday, April 27th 

The Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program have been recapitalized after initial funding expired due to the overwhelming demand for financial assistance by small businesses impacted by COVID-19. A short while ago SBA announced the Paycheck Protection Program will reopen for applications at 10:30 EST Monday. 

Further Update:

Following the recent announcement the Paycheck Protection Program has been recapitalized, the SBA is experiencing technical difficulties due to an overwhelming number of applications being submitted. We are monitoring the situation closely and will alert our customers when the application process is functioning again. Please continue to check back for additional updates.


April 26, 2020: Click Here to read the updated FAQ's provided by the SBA regarding the Paycheck Protection Program


April 16, 2020: IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING SBA PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM

The SBA is currently unable to accept new applications for the Paycheck Protection Program based on available appropriations funding. Thus, GCB will no longer be accepting applications at this time. Additional funds could become available in the future. Please continue to check this site for additional updates


April 15, 2020: SBA Provides Answers on PPP Notes, Forgiveness Period

Per the Community Bankers Association of Georgia: 

In the recent updates to the agencies' PPP FAQs, The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration confirmed the following in regards to PPP notes and the forgiveness period: 

  • Lenders may use their own promissory note or an SBA form of promissory note for PPP loans.
  • The lender must make the first disbursement of the loan no later than 10 calendar days from the date of loan approval. 
  • The eight-week period of borrower payroll costs that determines the amount of forgiveness for PPP loans begins on the date the lender makes the first disbursement of the PPP loan to the borrower.

April 14, 2020: CARES ACT - Paycheck Protection Program

As most of you know, the CARES Act was enacted into law on March 27, 2020. The Act provides approximately $2.2 trillion of fiscal stimulus including $349 billion allocated toward job retention and certain other expenses, commonly called the “Paycheck Protection Program" or PPP. 

The GCB PPP volume has been tremendous. It is our understanding that two-thirds of the available PPP funds have already been allocated at this time. Please understand we are submitting applications to SBA in the order that full packages including all supporting documentation are received. If you submitted an application lacking supporting documention, submission of your application will be delayed until all required documentation has been received by the Bank.

Please know we have your best interest in mind, as always, and we are working around the clock to get your applications submitted to the SBA. At this time, 65% of completed application packages recieved have been submitted, with 50% of those receiving SBA approval. Our team is preparing notes as rapidly as possible, so be on the lookout for communication via e-mail. You will soon receive a DocuSign on behalf of Matt Robbins, and we kindly ask that you please complete and submit the DocuSign as soon as you receive it.

Important to note: Once GCB receives SBA approval funds will be allocated. Please continue to remain patient as we work through this process together. 

If you are following up on an application submitted previously, your account Officer will communicate with you via e-mail periodically to let you know the status of your application.

Supporting documentation must be e-mailed to [email protected]. Please note your application cannot be submitted for approval without all required documentation, and documentation calculations must be accurate to ensure your application is submitted.


April 6, 2020: ATMs Exempt from Gov. Kemp's PIN-Pad Suspension

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp recently provided guidance to retailers regarding the suspension of PIN-pad usage in a continued effort to fight the spread of COVID-19.

ATMs, however, are exempt from the aforementioned PIN-pad suspension, with extra sanitary precautions expected to be taken to ensure the cleanliness of ATMs. 

Rest assured Greater Community Bank is making every effort to keep you safe and healthy while you continue to utilize our deposit-taking ATMs. We will continue to regularly sanitize our ATMs and we strongly encourage users to also sanitize your hands before and after using our ATMs. 

To read more about Gov. Kemp's statement regarding PIN-pad usage, please visit: https://www.wrdw.com/content/news/Gov-Kemp-Issues-Guidance-for-Retailers-Consumers-Amid-COVID-19-569393631.html


April 3, 2020: Changes to Drive-Thru Hours

Due to the recent "Shelter in Place" executive order issued for Georgia, and for the safety of our customers and staff which is of utmost importance to us, we have made some temporary changes to our drive-thru operational hours. 
 
Beginning Monday, April 6th, the drive-thru at our Main Office, East Rome Office, and Calhoun Office will be open Monday through Friday from 9:00am-4:00pm. 
 
The Main Office drive-thru will also be open on 
Saturdays from 9:00am-12:00pm. 
 
We do, however, encourage you to please make every effort to utilize our drive-thru between the hours of 9:00am-4:00pm on Monday through Friday as there is a strong possibility our Saturday hours may be suspended in the near future. 
 
As a reminder, our ATMs at each of these locations also have cash/check deposit-taking capability and are available 24/7. 
 

April 1, 2020:

At this time, we are experiencing higher than normal call volumes, and our wait times and return call times are longer than usual. Thank you for your understanding as we address your needs. Please note that we the needs of our customers will be prioritized over outside needs at this time. If your call is not urgent, please consider calling back at a later time or, if possible, use GreaterCB.com, Telephone Banking 706.295.9300, or check our deposit-taking ATMs for balance and other account information.


April 1, 2020: Attention SBA-504 Borrowers

Late last night we were informed that due to the provisions in the CARES Act SBA will NOT automatically bank draft any SBA-504 borrowers scheduled April 1st payment from their checking account today 

The CARES Act is scheduled to pay the principal, interest, and fees due on all SBA-504 loans starting with the April 1st payment and continuing through the September 1st payment.

As the SBA awaits the implementation of this from the U.S. Treasury as to the exact procedures on how those payments will transferred and paid on the borrowers behalf for this six month period, they wanted to take this first step in this process and stop the payment debits for April. 

The payment of the SBA-504 payment over the next six months only covers the SBA-504 payment and does not cover the first mortgage loans you have with us.


March 26, 2020: Tips to Avoid Coronavirus Scams and Protect Your Money

The American Bankers Association® has published the following regarding potential fraud, and how to help avoid it, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:

Common Scams

  • Phishing and supply scams: Scammers impersonate health organizations and businesses to gather personal and financial information or sell fake test kits, supplies, vaccines or cures for COVID-19.
    Stimulus check or economic relief scams: There are reports that the government will help to ease the economic impact of the virus by sending money by check or direct deposit. However, the government will NOT ask for a fee to receive the funds, nor will they ask for your personal or account information.
    Charity scams: Fraudsters seek donations for illegitimate or non-existent organizations.
    • Delivery of malware through “virus-tracking apps” or sensationalized news reports.
    Provider scams: Scammers impersonate doctors and hospital staff and contact victim claiming to have treated a relative or friend for COVID-19 and demand payment for treatment.
    Bank/FDIC scams: Scammers impersonate FDIC or bank employees and falsely claim that banks are limiting
    access to deposits or that there are security issues with bank deposits.
    Investment scams often styled as “research reports,” claiming that products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure COVID-19.

10 Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim

  • Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails, texts, phone calls and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with, and NEVER give your password, account number or PIN to anyone.
    2. Ignore offers for a COVID-19 vaccine, cure or treatment. If there is a medical breakthrough, it wouldn’t be reported through unsolicited emails or online ads.
    3. Rely on official sources for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and your state’s health department websites to keep track of the latest developments.
    4. Remember that the safest place for your money is in the bank—it’s physically secure and it’s federally insured. When you deposit your money at a bank, you get the comfort of knowing that your funds are
    secure and insured by the government. You don’t have the same level of protection when your money is outside the banking system.
  • Do some research before making a donation. Be wary of any business, charity or individual requesting COVID-19-related payments or donations in cash, by wire transfer, gift card or through the mail.
    6. Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date. Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.
    7. Recognize and avoid bogus website links. Cybercriminals embed malicious links to download malware onto devices or route users to bogus websites. Hover over suspicious links to view the actual URL that you are being routed to. Fraudulent links are often disguised by simple changes in the URL. For example: www.ABC-Bank.com vs ABC_Bank.com.
    8. Change your security settings to enable multi-factor authentication for accounts that support it. Multi-factor authentication—or MFA—is a second step to verify who you are, like a text with a code.
    9. Before you make any investments, remember that there is a high potential for fraud right now. You should be wary of any company claiming the ability to prevent, detect or cure coronavirus. For information on how to avoid investment fraud, visit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission website.
    10. Help others by reporting coronavirus scams. Visit the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov to report suspected or confirmed scams. You can also stay up-to-date on the latest scams by
    visiting the FTC’s coronavirus page at ftc.gov/coronavirus.

You can also access this article by clicking here.


March 25, 2020: Medicare Beneficiaries Now At Risk for Potential Fraud

As if the COVID-19 pandemic weren't bad enough already, fraudsters are now beginning to take advantage of the situation to target Medicare beneficiaries.

We invite you to join our Greater Community Bank "Fraud Squad" by keeping an eye out for suspected fraud which may occur during these trying times, as well as continuing to remain cautious.

The US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General has released a fraud alert warning... Medicare beneficiaries are being targeted through telemarketing, social media, and even door-to-door by fraudsters claiming to offer COVID-19 tests. 

Here's how you can help protect yourself and those around you from potential fraud: 

  • Be cautious of unsolicited requests for personal information, such as your Medicare number
  • Be suspicious of unsolicited offers of COVID-19 tests or supplies
  • Ignore offers on social media of COVID-19 tests or treatment; and
  • Only a physician or other qualified health care provider should recommend or approve requests for COVID-19 testing

If you suspect fraud, please notify the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721 or [email protected]

For additional information please visit: OIG.HHS.gov


March 24, 2020: Our Drive-Thru is Open for Service

With new ordinances being set, please remember Greater Community Bank is still considered an essential business and will continue to provide service through our drive-thru at our Rome and Calhoun locations.

Greater Community Bank, as a financial institutuion, is designated an essential service and will continue to serve our customers during the period of the Georgia stay-at-home advisory.

As a reminder, banking services may be conducted with us through our drive-thru, at an ATM, or via online and mobile banking.


March 23, 2020: SBA Disaster Relief Assistance Now Available

BIG news for SMALL business owners...

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to Georgia small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19.

These loans can provide vital economic support to help small businesses overcome the temporary loss of revneue they may be experiencing.

Got questions? We've got answers.

GCB's own Richard Carlton (NMLS# 1207008) and Tina Hudson (NMLS# 953939) have over 40+ years of combined SBA experience and are ready to answer any questions you may have.

Give them a call today at: 470.348.4200, or learn more about Greater Community Bank's SBA Lending program by clicking here.


March 17, 2020: Changes to Debit Card Limits

In an effort to continue to provide you with the best service possible during this time, we've made some changes to debit card limits for both ATM withdrawals and POS (Point of Sale):
  • POS Limit: $1,500 per day
  • ATM Withdrawal Limit: $500 per day
These increases have been implemented with the convenience of you, our customer, in mind.  
 
As a reminder, our ATMs located in Rome and Calhoun do also have cash/check deposit-taking capability and are available 24/7. For questions regarding these changes, or for all other inquiries, please contact us at 706.295.9300. 

March 16, 2020: Account Access during COVID-19 

At Greater Community Bank the health and well-being of our customers, staff and community is our top priority. We understand the concern and uncertainty you may be experiencing surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are committed to being responsive to the needs of our customers and staff as the situation evolves.
 
We strongly encourage you to use our online and mobile banking platforms for quick and easy 24/7 account access. From there, you can make payments, view transactions, check balances, find a nearby deposit-taking ATM and more. It’s easier and faster (in most cases) to manage your account digitally, especially given call wait times may be longer than usual. Members are able to:
·        Deposit checks using the mobile app
·        Pay bills using bill pay
·        Apply for loans and credit cards
·        Check your balances
·        Make payments on your loans
·        Transfer funds
·        Sign up for or retrieve e-statements
 
If you haven’t enrolled in online and mobile access, it only takes a few minutes. Enroll now.
 
For person-to-person needs, such as access to safety deposit boxes, please contact us directly at 706.295.9300. 

As always, the health, safety and well-being of our customers, staff and community is our chief concern. We continue to monitor this quickly evolving situation and are here to assist you as needed.For additional information about COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov.