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Local banks working to help small businesses in Meade County

 The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of the program is to keep people off unemployment and keep them employed and working. Some eligibility requirements include having fewer than 500 employees, being an individual who operates as a sole proprietor, or an individual who operates as an independent contractor. This loan program will not only keep businesses functioning, but it will also take a burden off the unemployment system.  The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees. This loan has a maturity of 2 years and an interest rate of 1%.  Locally, it’s kept our bankers very busy.  WesBanco has an entire section of their website dedicated to information about the loan opportunities. Banking Center Manager Regina Foushee says that they’ve helped a large number of applicants.  “We’ve had a lot of response from it,” said Foushee. “We’ve had a lot of questions, and we’ve had a lot of people apply.”  Matt Pike, President at Meade County Bank, has also worked a lot of long hours trying to get as many applications in as possible. He says that the first step for a business is to contact their tax preparer.  “[Businesses] need to get some advice from a tax preparer because it goes hand-in-hand with your taxes,” said Pike.  He encouraged all local businesses to research the loan opportunities available. “I think every business owner should look into it because it’s going to help more than what they realize,” said Pike. He says that the funds are made available on a first come, first serve basis. “That’s one reason we’re working 12-hour days around here right now and longer is so that we can get all these applications in that we’ve got in the hopper right now.” Pike says that they are currently focused on current customers, but that their goal is to help as many Meade County businesses as possible. “This is our community,” said Pike. “We want to help as many people as we can.”

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