As my team and I were finishing this edition of Bank On It, we learned of the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg was an icon who fought for equality, and without her leadership, I wouldn’t have found my voice or the career in banking that I have. Justice Ginsburg has many quotes to remember, but this one stands out the most to me now: “To make life a little better for people less fortunate than you, that’s what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself, but for one’s community.”
Our summer was like no other we’ve seen. Small businesses navigated the challenges of operating during COVID-19, nonprofits adapted their key summer events, and all of us did our best to enjoy the summer and natural beauty of the Cape. Through it all, The Coop rallied behind the charge to help our community ReCOOP. For us, it’s more than a catch-phrase. It is a clarion call to continue to do what we have always done: provide practical financial guidance and essential banking services for families, small businesses, and nonprofits in our community.
That’s why we led the way among Cape Cod banks by advancing the highest percent of PPP loans as compared to our existing commercial loan portfolio. While some banks opted out of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), our participation helped small businesses retain over 15,000 jobs on the Cape, which was a lifeline for many of these businesses and employees. While many of the borrowers were existing business clients, we were also able to help many new business clients that weren’t happy with the service they received at other banks. By the numbers, we provided over $76 million in loans to 906 businesses! The average loan size was $84,000, and 88% of the loans we made were less than $150,000.
Right now, our Small Business Specialists are in the process of assisting PPP recipients in applying for loan forgiveness. To make it as easy and accessible as possible, we created a user-friendly online portal on our website that includes application resources, useful guides and videos to assist our clients in navigating the process.
And yet, even as we know the value of online banking, especially in this time of social distancing, The Coop’s primary focus remains on providing that personal connection with experts who understand our clients are not mere numbers on a ledger but people with individual needs and aspirations.
Of course, the proof is in the performance of the people we employ. So, here is a good place to introduce you to two Small Business Specialists we recently hired to oversee our East Dennis and Sandwich branches: Melissa Marder and Maeghan DeLellis.
Melissa, who is now our Small Business Specialist and Branch Manager of our East Dennis branch, brings with her eight years of banking experience. She also has first-hand experience running a business, having been co-owner of the Aquatic Wildlife Company in Manchester, CT., where she specialized in selling aquarium fish and fish tanks. And her commitment to community aligns perfectly with the values we cultivate here at The Coop.
Maeghan is a graduate of Sandwich High School and brings 15 years of banking experience to the table. She joined The Coop in 2013, working as a Floating Supervisor and Teller Manager at the Yarmouth Port branch. Most recently, she served as Branch Manager and Small Business Specialist at our West Barnstable Branch. She is now leading our Sandwich branch team. A Sandwich resident, Maeghan has volunteered with Heritage Museum & Gardens, Cape Cod Young Professionals, and the Housing Assistance Corporation.
Both Melissa and Maeghan are actively engaged in Cape Cod civic life and embody the spirit of another recent development here at The Coop. Just last month, The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod Charitable Foundation Trust announced the distribution of over $120,000 in sponsorships and grants to local nonprofits.
Supporting Our Community
As you know, many nonprofits rely on major summer events for their fundraising. Our commitment to these critical community organizations has not wavered. As the on-going pandemic has left many nonprofits reeling with many in-person fundraising events canceled, we have continued our support regardless of whether these events were canceled, postponed or held virtually.
We will continue to keep the health and safety of our customers and employees at the forefront of our day-to-day routine, following the practices we instituted months ago as detailed on our Coronavirus update page on our website.
One aspect of protecting you is helping you ward off threats to financial security, which is why our Coronavirus update page has useful information on how to avoid scams that reared up during this time of crisis, such as the prevalence of “Money Mule” scams.
Whether it is safeguarding your security, supporting community organizations that improve our way of life, or serving local small business owners, we are fully committed to the reCOOP efforts underway across the Cape.