Interview with Lloyd L. (Scott) Beatty, President/CEO at Shore Bancshares Inc.
Lloyd L. (Scott) Beatty is the President/CEO at Shore Bancshares Inc. He also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Easton Economic Development Corp.
EEDC: How busy has the bank been with all of these loans and programs?
Scott Beatty: The last couple of weeks were all about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). We did 715 loans and a total of about $93 ½ million in 13 days. Normally, we do about 1,000 loans in a year. All across the organization, people have been working tirelessly to get this done. We’ve been really focused on the needs of our customers. It’s been an amazing process. We hope that the program gets re-opened and re-funded. We still have some applications here, and we still have some folks who will apply.
EEDC: How many customers were shut out of the program?
Scott Beatty: We were in the middle of a sizeable one when we got kicked out of the system, and the application shut down, and they ran out of money. We probably have another 50 or 60 to process, and we expect that additional customers will come to us, and maybe even non-customers if the program re-opens.
I think the next issue will be the forgiveness piece, depending upon some formulas for forgiveness. What we experienced with this program was that even as late as Tuesday, we were getting additional guidance of what we could and couldn’t do. We’re concerned that the same issue will come up on the forgiveness side, that the program is going to change. Certainly, the intent of Congress is to be fairly liberal in respect to forgiveness. We’ll just have to wait and see what comes out of the SBA.
EEDC: Now what?
Scott Beatty: Next will be the Main Street Lending Program, and we think some of our customers will apply for that. Little larger program in terms of dollars, the minimum amount of loan is about one million dollars, it’s a 4-year amortization.
EEDC: Didn’t realize that we were dealing with those kinds of numbers here.
Scott Beatty: You don’t realize that a local community bank has that kind of reach. We take care of small business, that’s what we do. That’s what this program is designed for. All you have to do is ride through town at around 5:00 PM to realize how devastated even Easton is. We’ve been fortunate in Talbot County not to have a lot of the coronavirus cases, but the shutdown has really affected local business.
EEDC: Including the bank?
Scott Beatty: We’ve kept our entire staff on at full pay throughout this. We’re obviously essential business. The banks need to keep commerce going in this country, so we kept all of our staff on, and when PPP came up on top of that, we actually had people working overtime.
EEDC: How have you adapted to the shutdown requirements?
Scott Beatty: A 1/3 of our staff are working remotely. Obviously, our branches need to stay open, so what we’ve done is close the lobbies except by appointment, and all of our drive-throughs are open. We’re keeping our normal hours in the drive-throughs. We considered extending those hours as demands required, but customers have been very understanding, and we’ll give them access to the lobby if they need to sign some paperwork, or open an account, or use their safe deposit box. They just need to call and make an appointment.
EEDC: We’ve been hearing that the bank has gone out of their way to reach out to their customers.
Scott Beatty: We are calling customers to make sure they’re OK, not a business call. We had all of our branches doing that. That got put on hold over the last couple of weeks. I suspect when everyone takes a breath, we’ll be doing the same thing again. And we’ll offer to help them any way we can.
EEDC: What advice are you giving your Easton customers and the community?
Scott Beatty: Basically, conserve your cash. Pay your bills, but be frugal. We’re not exactly sure when the world’s going to open back up. To some extent, we’re in much better shape from a health standpoint than some of the areas across the bridge. So, I don’t know that the governor is going to allow portions of the state to re-open, so my sense is that we need to be fairly conservative through June.
Local banks are here to help local businesses. We understand our customers; we understand their needs even beyond the PPP and other lifelines that the government is providing, we’re here to provide the same lifelines.
We’ll work with customers on payment deferrals, on principal deferrals, pretty much anything they need to help them get through this both on the commercial and on the consumer end. We have a number of primary mortgages here, and we have home equity loans, so we help the consumers too.
The focus has been on small businesses, but the other side of that is all the people without paychecks. That’s the consumer side. We understand what the needs are there. We’ve got landlords here who aren’t receiving rents, so we’re trying to help them any way we can. We’re going beyond, we signed on with the governor for the 3-month deferral, but we will go to 6-month deferral.
One last thing: people need to call their congressmen. We need to re-fund the PPP, and they need to step up and stop playing politics.