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COVID-19: Five steps your business can take now

Published on April 20, 2020 | Webster Bank

Across the nation, businesses have been stepping up to help safeguard the health of their employees and customers during this coronavirus pandemic. Webster Bank offers the following proactive steps to help you position your business for long-term recovery.

#1 | Be aware of cyber fraud and scammers.

Unfortunately, cyber scammers are already taking advantage of the current crisis. Be wary of phishing emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites that try to trick you or your employees into revealing sensitive information or inadvertently providing access to your data.

Webster Bank can help you shore up your cybersecurity services. Webster will never call you and ask for your PIN, social security number EIN or other business identification numbers.

#2 | Explore your options for access to capital.

Widespread business disruptions are impacting every sector of our economy. Whether you need immediate access to capital or just want to be prepared, it’s important to understand your options for financial relief.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several helpful programs.

A. The SBA offers direct access to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. All states have now been approved to access the SBA disaster loan program. While Federal funds permit, borrowers will receive a $10,000 grant even if the application is declined. Eligible small businesses and non-profit organizations in these states can now apply for low-interest, long-term disaster relief loans of up to $2 million through this program. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.

You need to apply directly through the SBA for this program. Get the details at sba.gov/disaster.

B. The newly formed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), has put forth the Paycheck Protection Program that offers loans to help small business owners continue paying their employees as well as their business expenses during this time. This program is backed by the SBA and is only accessible through SBA-approved lenders like Webster Bank. A unique aspect of this loan is that a portion of the loan may be ÒforgivenÓ as long as you keep your employees on payroll and use the proceeds to pay for qualified business expenses during the first eight weeks after your loan is funded. Funds are limited; check with Webster to determine if funding is still available before submitting an application.

C. Webster manages its own traditional SBA lending programs. Webster is a Preferred SBA lender, and New England’s #1 SBA lender by dollar volume, so Webster bankers can offer you expert support. These loans are guaranteed by the Federal government, which allows banks to offer more flexibility to businesses that may not meet conventional loan criteria. SBA lenders like Webster may also require less money down and offer longer terms to help struggling businesses ease their cash flow.

To learn more about these loans, administered through Webster Bank, call 203-271-7344 or visit https://public.websteronline.com/business/sba-loans.

#3 | Reach out to Webster for assistance…now.

Beyond access to capital, Webster may be able help with other aspects of your business finances — from expediting business cash flow and enhancing cybersecurity to optimizing your online banking. We have already taken action to assist our business customers during this time.

#4 Tap your banker’s connections to other businesses.

While we are all in this crisis together, every business sector is facing unique challenges. Webster business bankers have expertise in a variety of industries, and they can assist you with information and recommendations tailored to your specific business type.

Your Webster banker may also be able to connect you with alternative suppliers or even with new partners who can help you develop new services. At Webster Bank, weÕre hearing from hard-hit restaurants who are exploring potential new partners for delivery services and online ordering. We’re working with legal and accounting practices who are finding innovative ways to mobilize their at-home workforce. And weÕre talking with medical and dental practices who are finding new ways to treat patients remotely.

#5 | Stay informed through trusted resources.

Use trusted sources, such as legitimate government websites, for fact-based, up-to-date info about COVID-19.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention|Small Business Administration|Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency

We also encourage you to call Webster for answers to your questions as they evolve. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-325-2424.

We’re inspired by all the ways our businesses, communities and individuals are coming together during these trying times. Know that we’re here to support your efforts and answer your questions. Webster stands ready to help you manage and protect the financial viability of your business.

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