Dr. Brad Thomas had moved his business accounts to First Service Bank shortly after he started his neurosurgery clinic thirteen years ago. He had started out banking with a regional bank, but he says that he always had to submit a wheelbarrow full of paperwork, even for minor business, and the impersonal customer service required him to step out of clinical consultations to authorize his manager to conduct business on his behalf.
First Service Bank won his business with their personalized service and quick responses when he called with questions. They got to know him and his business, and were happy to speak with his business manager. They gave him advice when he asked for it, then helped him determine how to act on it.
So Little Rock Neurosurgery was already in good hands when the coronavirus disruptions began in January. By March, when the shut-down orders began, and the government restricted elective surgeries, Dr. Thomas watched his weekly patient visits decline from about 100 to around 30, and his surgeries fell from about fifteen a week to four or five, for patients who were feeling severe pain. He did not lay off any of his staff of ten, but did cut schedules from 40 to 32 hours a week, in response to the drop in patient traffic.
When the CARES Act passed, First Service Bank loan officer Robin Hackett reached out to say that Little Rock Neurosurgery qualified for a loan through the Payroll Protection Program. Dr. Thomas said that he had never seen anything move so fast. He and Robin spent half a day on Friday gathering information for the application, and they emailed back and forth with documents through the weekend, before signing it online through Docusign.
The funds that became available on Monday morning allowed Dr. Thomas to fill in the pay his staff had missed during weeks when their hours had been reduced, and to bring them all back up to 40 hours. He said that he is glad that the program is helping American taxpayers and small business keep going through this hard time.
Dr. Thomas expects that within a few weeks, when the peak passes, the government will start to ease restrictions on surgeries, and his business will pick back up, leaving this disruption in the past. Because the clinic is using the loan to cover payroll, rent and utilities, Little Rock Neurosurgery will qualify for complete forgiveness. Now that people have their health care protocols in place, a few more patients are already starting to come back in each week.
Dr. Thomas said that he knows a number of doctor friends and small business owners who have had very frustrating experiences with other banks, and when they heard about his smooth experience with First Service Bank, he suggested they check in with Robin Hackett and the lending team, to start getting to know them in advance of any further disruptions.
If you have questions about First Sevice Bank or thePayroll Protection Program (PPP) loan, call us at 501-679-8000.