Banking on a Better 2021



With the vaccine rollout still in progress, businesses are still being impacted by the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s been some relief in the form of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which first became available in the spring of 2020. Through the PPP, small businesses have been eligible for forgivable loans to cover payroll costs and other essential expenses.

Earlier this year, the Small Business Administration announced that it approved some 60,000 Paycheck Protection Program loans in its first week since the second round of PPP2 relief was made available to small businesses. During the period from January 11 to January 17, over $5 billion in loans were provided through some 3,000 lenders.

For employers  unable  to  secure  a PPP loan during the first two rounds, Consolidated Appropriations Act funding of $284 billion was made available through March 31 or until funds are expended. The funds come with relaxed guidelines that make it easier for small businesses to  obtain an original PPP loan and even allow those who received funding in Round 1 or Round 2, to secure a second draw (additional) loan this time around.

But that’s only half the picture. With billions of loans approved and processed in a historically short period of time, small businesses and financial institutions must also focus on the forgiveness phase of the loan program — another big challenge.

In this issue of the MBA Business Magazine, we’ll take a look at some of the financial resources  made  available to employers throughout the pandemic. In fact, as part of our cover story, we’ll share how Marquette’s proficiency with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan processing and its commitment to local business throughout the pandemic resulted in substantial growth in its Business Banking department.

In this month’s Spotlight Q&A, we’ll also hear from HBK Managing Principal and CEO Christopher M. Allegretti on finance and accounting implications of the COVID-19 crisis and strategic considerations for profitability in 2021.

Plus, we’ll share some of the HR benefit trends in the new year, including the growing number of employers that are offering financial wellness programs to their employees. These programs vary in complexity but can include virtual personal financial planning meetings, tuition reimbursement, seminars and payday loan assistance, just to name a few.

The Manufacturer & Business Association has a team of professionals available to help employers understand such offerings and overcome operating challenges by delivering services that lower the cost of doing business, ease the burden of compliance and increase productivity for its members. To learn more, visit!