When the pandemic first devastated the economy in the spring of 2020, many small businesses and nonprofits struggled to navigate the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) application process. Lisa Collins Vidnovic was just coming off a professional high of having been selected as a winner of an Arts + Business Council Award when the pandemic hit. “Being selected as a Leadership Award winner for 2020 was a phenomenal honor for Metropolitan Ballet Company,” Vidnovic says. One of the outcomes she couldn’t have foreseen was a phone call from one of the Awards sponsors, and a member of the Arts + Business Council’s advisory board, Charlie Kochka. “In the midst of Covid-19 upending our world, Charlie offered to help us navigate the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) application process. With Charlie’s help, we were able to obtain the PPP funding through Meridian Bank, which enabled us to keep our staff employed,” Vidnovic says.
In 2018, Meridian Bank expanded its business, opened its first office in Philadelphia, and has quickly become a trusted and reliable resource for the Philadelphia creative community and nonprofits. While relatively few community banks remain in the greater financial landscape, Meridian’s success has allowed a crucial expansion into small business lending, which in turn has become quite valuable to the Philadelphia nonprofit community. Meridian Bank has developed relationships with other clients such as World Café Live, and sponsored other nonprofits such as Bartram’s Gardens.
Small businesses and nonprofits, particularly those operating on small profit margins, have been especially vulnerable in the pandemic, since they may have not had the cash reserves to weather periods of economic uncertainty and typically have fewer ways to access financing. Meridian Bank’s small business team is dedicated to helping organizations find the financial solutions they need to survive.
With the need for dedicated help so critical at the time, Meridian Bank flexed their operations to provide the best assistance and advisement in a rapid moving and challenging environment. Each advisor made a commitment to acutely understand the available Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs crucial to their clients’ survival. When the SBA portal crashed against the loan application deadline, Meridian’s executive team created groups of associates to work through overnight shifts in efforts to make sure every single client’s loan application was submitted on time.
In addition to aiding and assuring that these businesses’ lifelines would be secured, Meridian was able to offer this service by employing the highest level of personal attention to their customers. “The power of Charlie’s kindness and his knowledgeable guidance had a profound impact,” Vidnovic says. “While acknowledging all that’s changed, we are optimistic, looking forward, and building organizational muscle so we can come back stronger when the curtain lifts once again.”
At the close of the second round of SBA loans, Meridian Bank had single-handedly accounted for over 1,000 loans of over $300 million secured for small businesses and nonprofits in Greater Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. For these reasons and so many more, customers find that investing with, and working with a community bank such as Meridian, assures that their businesses are a priority and their money is being used to make their local economy stronger.
Meridian Bank is also dedicated to giving back to the creative community and in the last few years the bank has contributed more than $3.5 million to hundreds of charitable organizations in Greater Philadelphia. In addition to serving on the board of The Arts and Business Council for Greater Philadelphia, Meridian Bank underwrites The Art Trust. Furthermore, Meridian employees are empowered to serve on boards, volunteer their time, and help raise funds, all in the spirit of giving back to the community.
“Meridian Bank’s Three Banking Tips for Nonprofits”
- Look for a Bank with close ties to the nonprofit community in your area. Check the event advertisements for your fellow nonprofits, and see who the sponsors are. If you look at enough of them, you will probably see certain banks that stand out in their community support.
- Check out smaller community banks. While small banks do not have the breadth of services or a huge branch network like the big banks, what they can offer you is access: to decision makers and senior management. You have the chance to be that “big fish” in the “small pond”.
- Get at least one banker on your board, preferably more than one. Most banks get a tremendous amount of donation requests each year. Many bank prioritize those requests by looking at whether the requesting organization is a customer of the bank, or if an employee of the bank volunteers for that organization. Bankers can also be a big help with the financial oversight of the board, and in fundraising activities.
Meridian is an innovative community bank serving Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland with a full suite of financial products and services. Meridian specializes in business and industrial lending, retail and commercial real estate lending, wealth management and electronic payments. Meridian also has a broad menu of high-yield depository products supported by robust online and mobile access. Meridian is listed on NASDAQ under symbol MRBK. Learn more at www.meridianbanker.com. Equal Housing Lender. Member FDIC.
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