GreenStone Farm Credit Services: PPP Loan Forgiveness & Administration with Abrigo Continues Great Partnership
GreenStone Farm Credit Services, one of America’s largest rural lenders, plans to use Abrigo’s SBA Lending solution to manage its nearly 1,400 Paycheck Protection Program loans through the loan forgiveness and administration phase after signing on with Abrigo during the second round of PPP funding.
“We really appreciate working with your team, and it has been a great partnership so far,” says Brett Dutcher, Senior Information Technology Manager.
After implementing Abrigo’s Sageworks SBA Lending solution, GreenStone Farm Credit Services was able to get another 500 PPP loans approved on top of nearly 1,000 approved in round one of funding, and the financial institution got a pat on the back recently from program administrators.
‘We did our mission’
“We got a phone call from someone at the SBA recently and he said, ‘We really appreciate what you’re doing for these PPP businesses – I have farmers in Michigan, and they were able to get funded through you super-fast.’” Dutcher said. “That hit home for us, because we focus on our customers, and we worked hard to make sure all of our customers got a PPP loan who were eligible and who were needing one. I really feel like we did our mission.”
Headquartered in East Lansing, Michigan, GreenStone is the country’s seventh largest association in the Farm Credit System. GreenStone owns and manages more than $9 billion in assets and serves over 25,000 members with 36 branches throughout Michigan and northeast Wisconsin. It provides a range of financial services to the agricultural industry - including short, intermediate and long-term loans, equipment and building leases, life insurance, crop insurance, accounting and tax services.
Given that much of the guidance about the loan forgiveness and administration process is unclear, Dutcher particularly likes knowing his credit department will be able to use Abrigo’s E-Tran integrated solution if PPP forgiveness applications must be sent through the SBA’s main processing portal, E-Tran.
A Few Processing vs. 20
“That E-Tran integration is just a huge advantage – skipping the portal and being able to have a lot less people focused on it,” he says. Indeed, during the PPP origination phase, GreenStone was able to have only a few credit staff members focused on processing applications, as opposed to 20 people that would be required had they been manually entering the applications into E-Tran without the Abrigo solution.
The SBA has not released the exact process by which forgiveness applications should be submitted so that lenders can begin the process of getting the forgiven portions repaid and removed from their books. But Abrigo’s Sageworks SBA Lending solution will have a secure portal for borrowers to upload use of proceeds documentation and will be able to generate the required documentation, and it will be able to transmit the data to SBA and provide required reporting based on the guidance when available.
Abrigo’s Sageworks SBA Lending solution will also provide a dashboard that allows GreenStone to view all of its PPP loans and data points in one system, which will be a big help, Dutcher says. “If you did this before, you might have had data in multiple places,” Dutcher says. “This will make it easier to review so that you’ll have all of your i’s dotted and your t’s crossed.”
Even though the first round of PPP funding loans were not processed through Abrigo, GreenStone will be able to nevertheless conduct the forgiveness and administration phase through the Sageworks SBA Lending solution so that all of the loans are in one place, Dutcher noted.
A partner ‘on top of the changes’
With so much uncertainty about the forgiveness application process, it’s also helpful to know that Abrigo has a team tracking the guidelines and developing the solution to ensure it follows the SBA’s requirements as they are released. Abrigo’s relationship with the SBA has been demonstrated through the solution as well as the company’s ability to pivot when changes are needed quickly, Dutcher said.
“Because the information seems to be constantly changing, it’s reassuring to be working with a partner that is not only staying on top of the changes but is also collaborating with other banks to make the right solution,” he said. With PPP borrowers themselves likely to be confused about how to apply for loan forgiveness, it’s critical for lenders to have a clear path for the process, and going it alone would have been much more difficult, Dutcher acknowledged.
Abrigo’s implementation and support team has also made the decision easy to utilize the SBA Lending solution for the forgiveness and administration phase, according to Dutcher.
“You guys just really paid close attention to detail and the support in general was great,” he said. “There’s definitely some good people on your staff that react pretty fast in an ever-changing environment.”