“Our vision and mission is that all people have a right to affordable housing,” said John Habat, President/CEO at Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity.
First Federal Lakewood is helping Habitat for Humanity realize that vision with access to funding through a business line of credit and more recently, a loan through the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
“Nobody was coming forward offering us a line of credit. I said, ‘Let me try reaching out to First Federal Lakewood.’ What they did was arrange for us to have a line of credit,” said Habat. “There’s just no comparison. You go into the bank and they know you.”
Habitat for Humanity again turned to First Federal Lakewood to apply for a loan through the PPP to be able to keep its workers on the payroll. Habat said he was on the phone right away with someone at First Federal Lakewood. “In 10 days, we had our approval. When your banker comes through for you like that, that’s just the best,” he added.
Helping Local Businesses Thrive
Habitat for Humanity is just one of hundreds of organizations and small businesses First Federal Lakewood works with to invest in the local economy and help local businesses thrive.
Thinking Cap Child Care in Cleveland is an all-female, family-owned small business that provides child care services. Thinking Cap’s relationship with First Federal Lakewood began with a PPP business loan. Since then, Jaishawna Bates, Thinking Cap Director, has opened business and personal accounts, and referred friends and family to First Federal Lakewood.
“Receiving paperwork or an application can be so tedious. They gave me a little push and the reassurance that we would figure it out together. They go above and beyond in wanting to help. I think that it’s a wonderful thing,” said Bates.
IT-services firm UCG Technologies, which is located in Independence, was looking to secure flexible funding. A business line of credit from First Federal Lakewood was just what the company needed.
“We chose First Federal Lakewood primarily because of the people. I can pick up the phone and get them on the phone, send them an email or meet with them quickly in person. At other banks, that may not be the case,” said Jim Kandrac, President, UCG Technologies.
First Federal Lakewood has been committed to Northeast Ohio for 85 years. As a mutual bank, First Federal Lakewood is owned by depositors and not shareholders, so the emphasis isn't on quarter-to-quarter results. That has proven especially helpful during COVID-19 in being able to refocus resources to serve the community directly, providing additional assistance and helping businesses and organizations navigate the CARES Act.
“We continue to invest in our local economy and embody what it means to be a good neighbor and a mutual bank. We don’t just serve this community; we’re a part of it, too,” said Kurt Kappa, Chief Lending Officer at First Federal Lakewood. “We remain committed to helping our local economy and the members of our community get through good and bad times so they can thrive.”
Paycheck Protection Program
When the PPP was announced, First Federal Lakewood’s business team quickly got up to speed to be able to help as many local businesses and organizations connect to PPP loans as possible and weather the ensuing economic storm. The results through early July speak for themselves:
- 1,259 total loans
- $105.5 million in total PPP loan dollars
- $83,722 average loan amount
- Helped businesses retain 12,377 jobs in our communities
- 93% of loans less than $250,000
- 40% of total loan dollars to women and minority-owned businesses
- 80 non-profits secured loans of more than $12.6 million
“We believe local businesses, non-profits and local economic development departments are the fabric of our community, working to make each community better. We have been proud to support our neighbors in securing loans through the PPP and a variety of other ways to support our local communities,” said Kappa.
He said relationships are a hallmark of working with a mutual bank, where clients get the knowledge and service of larger banks along with community knowledge and small-bank relationships—and the ability to form relationships with the decision makers at the bank.
Jim Kandrac from UCG Technologies agrees with that assessment. “At the end of the day, people buy from people and it’s about relationships. First Federal Lakewood stepped up to the plate, addressed our needs and got it taken care of,” he said.