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The Wave: What Should We Do Now?

Ask Bank of Guam: What should we do now? Viral Shah, Vice President, Credit Administration

The past 18 months have been tumultuous as the nation has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic. Social contact was restricted in a manner that the country had not experienced in more than a century. Businesses of all types were forced to change how they operated, many having to cease operations. Through it all, Bank of Guam attempted to provide the financial support and advice that customers desperately needed.

We helped our customers obtain PPP loans, modified terms of loans and generally sought to help them sustain themselves with all the resources that we had in our arsenal.

In the first phase of the PPP program, we worked with the SBA and customers to obtain available funding. In the second phase, because we are Minority Deposit Institution (MDI) we were able to offer customers a headstart in applying and obtaining the funding.

In the last newsletter, I outlined four key activities that businesses should undertake/consider as they negotiated the pandemic-created financial crisis.

They were:

  • Maintain as much liquidity as possible
  • Be agile as you modify your business model
  • Leverage technology and
  • Utilize government provided/supported funding opportunities provided at the community, state, and federal levels.

That advice was written as the nation was beginning to respond the implementation COVID-19 vaccinations across the nation. As I write this, the relative success of the program is becoming more evident. Slowly, but steadily the economy is beginning to recover.

As we move forward into the recovery phase for the economy, the basic advice does not change. But it needs to be enhanced to ensure that your business does not get left behind.

Working with your banker, you can stay informed about special government programs, such as PPP, that continue to be available. While the first reaction to many economic crises is to retrench or consolidate, this may be the time to think about modifying your business model to take advantage of what you have learned over the past 18 months. You may have found different customer bases or alternative methods to produce, deliver or market your products and services. Don’t abandon them if they have been successful. For all the talk of the “new norm,” it is better to remove the term “new” and to understand that some of the avenues that you utilized pre-pandemic may never return.

If the pandemic brought us a new understanding of our customers, it is that they are comfortable with technology, remote meetings, and alternative delivery systems. Now is the time to incorporate what you have learned to move successfully into the future.

And we’re here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to discuss your individual needs and how Bank of Guam can help you reach your financial goals.