Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett hosted a video conference with banking industry leaders from across the region on April 1 to discuss the role of financial institutions in the current economic challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than a dozen representatives of local financial institutions joined the Mayor’s discussion. They were in agreement the most important step for local businesses is to connect with their bankers. That could take place by phone, email, or through bank web pages.

“We are facing two simultaneous crises; the public health crisis and an economic crisis that is affecting local businesses very significantly,” said Mayor Barrett. “I want companies of all sizes in Milwaukee to connect with the available resources so they can weather this unprecedented event.”

Banks are the primary connection for local businesses to access new federal government programs. The application process is being finalized, and participants in the Mayor’s conference encouraged businesses to prepare by assembling records including payroll and documentation of other operational and fixed costs. Businesses can find more information on the Payroll Protection Act at the U.S Department of the Treasury’s website.

A number of the financial institutions participating in the conference said they are deferring some payments for loan clients, waiving some fees, holding off on foreclosures, and getting loans closed for existing clients. Banks are also advancing plans to make philanthropic investments that support Milwaukee’s economy.

The Mayor said he will continue to publicly highlight the important role banks are playing in meeting the economic challenges Milwaukee businesses face.

“We want to be prepared for a prompt and full restart of Milwaukee’s economic activity as soon as the public health crisis allows,” Mayor Barrett said. “I am pleased with the cooperative spirit demonstrated by local financial institutions, and I think that will put us in a good position to get our economy back on track.”

© Photo

Lee Matz

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