Independence Bank has granted more than 1,500 loans during the novel coronavirus pandemic through the U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program, part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

The loans processed by Independence Bank have amounted to at least $156 million, more than $1 million of which was processed in McLean County, according to McLean County Independence Bank President Chad Hall.

According to an Independence Bank press release, the loans processed through the SBA program will be forgiven if businesses receiving them follow program guidelines.

“As a local business ourselves, we recognize that these organizations are what drive our communities forward, they are the backbone of our local economies,” said Independence Bank President Jacob Reid. “We know the impact that the pandemic has had on these businesses and we are grateful to be able to facilitate this program on behalf of the SBA and provide those families and their employees a little financial certainty.”

The McLean County branches received more than 50 applications for the SBA program loans, according to Hall. With the extra funding granted to local businesses in McLean, more than 300 local employees were able to continue receiving paycheck, he said.

Marsha Layton, owner of The Farmhouse in Calhoun, said the loan helped keep the local restaurant on its feet during the pandemic.

“We were able to pay employees and without this would not have been able to stay open. We are in the red but not so far that we can’t pull out,” Layton said.

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@mcleannews.com, 270-691-7360

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