Gunnison Bank & Trust honored for their work with PPP loans

“It was all hands on deck…”

[ by Mark Reaman ]

Colorado Governor Jared Polis and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade are recognizing the Gunnison Bank and Trust Company through its Crested Butte Bank and Gunnison Bank for work done early in the coronavirus pandemic. Some banks dove into the process in 2020 to distribute PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) funds and GB&T led the way in Crested Butte and Gunnison County. GB&T is being recognized by the state this month as a “PPP Hero.”

GB&T approved $24,188,935 in PPP loans total between the first and second rounds of PPP, and funded $24,122,730 of those PPP loans. Crested Butte Bank branch president Tina Kempin said that money was distributed through 420 first round PPP loans to Gunnison County businesses and 145 PPP loans during the second round to Gunnison County businesses. She said GB&T’s PPP loan origination effort supported 3,806 jobs in Gunnison County. At 565 PPP loans total, GB&T originated the highest number of PPP loans to Gunnison County businesses by a wide margin, as the bank with the next highest number of PPP loans originated to Gunnison County businesses was 183 through Community Banks of Colorado. Bank of the West did 179 while Wells Fargo processed 52 in the county.

“I can honestly say that every employee in the bank played a role in our PPP effort,” she said. “It didn’t matter if you worked in the loan side of the bank or in operations – you were involved in PPP. It was an all-hands-on-deck effort to get those funds out to our community during an uncertain time.”

Although there are a few banks on the PPP Heroes list that have branch locations in Gunnison County, GB&T is the only bank on this list that is chartered in Gunnison County, Kempin explained.

“When the PPP loan program first launched in April of 2020, that was the most challenging time,” Kempin recalled. “It didn’t matter if you were a banker or a business owner, everyone was getting information about the newly launched PPP program at the same time, and no one was an expert. It was like building the fire engine on the way to the call. The SBA’s (Small Business Administration) portal kept crashing due to the incredible volume of traffic, which didn’t help matters. At that time it was a race to get PPP loan funds out to our local businesses, and bank employees were entering PPP loan applications into the SBA’s portal around the clock – but especially during nights and weekends, as there was lower probability of the SBA’s portal crashing during off-peak times.”

Because the institution worked collaboratively between the Gunnison Bank and the Crested Butte Bank on PPP loan origination for Gunnison County businesses, Kempin said it was difficult to split out the PPP loan origination data between North and South Valley. She said the work didn’t stop with applying for the PPP funds. Once the business owner spent their PPP loan funds in accordance with the requirements of the program, the next step was applying for PPP loan forgiveness.

“As a bank chartered in the valley, this makes the Gunnison Valley our focal point, not simply a location, and this is where GB&T did nearly all of our PPP lending,” concluded Ashley Burt, president and CEO of GB&T.

Kempin also noted that Burt and GB&T vice president Chad Zummach worked with former senator Cory Gardner’s office to help craft some of the language in the CARES Act “such that we could make the most of it for Gunnison Valley businesses.”
The bank will receive state recognition on September 13 as a result of the award.

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