The first round of CARES Act stimulus funding brought a flurry of business activity to local banks as they worked to process hundreds of federally guaranteed loans for individuals, businesses and nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been crazy hectic,” said Washington Federal Bank Ketchum branch manager Patty Duke. “We built the ship in the water to capacitate these loans.”

Duke said Payroll Protection Program loans of all sizes were processed. When funding ran out, the bank had many more clients in line for the next round of funding, which opened on Monday.

“My first one for was for $1,000 for a sole proprietor,” Duke said. “The largest was for $198,000 to cover the cost of payroll for a restaurant for two and half months,” Duke said.

Sun Valley Economic Development Executive Director Harry Griffith said 60 percent of banks in Blaine County responded to his organization’s queries about the loan process.

By the time the first round of funding was exhausted, almost 200 local loans had been approved, amounting to an infusion of $32 million into the local economy, Griffith said during a virtual townhall meeting on Wednesday.

For the full story, see the Wednesday edition of the Mountain Express.

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