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Ricketts proclaims Easter as day of prayer, thanks banks for helping businesses

Staff Writer
Syracuse Journal-Democrat

At his April 8 daily COVID-19 press briefing, Governor Pete Ricketts issued Passover and Easter proclamations and designated Sunday, April 12th as a statewide day of prayer for those affected by coronavirus.  The Governor also thanked community banks in Nebraska for connecting businesses to much-needed financial resources that are available as part of the federal economic stimulus package (the CARES Act).

Jeff Kanger, Executive Vice President at First State Bank Nebraska, joined the Governor at today’s news conference.  He outlined his bank’s efforts to provide low-interest, potentially forgivable loans to small businesses as part of the Paycheck Protection Program.

Gov. Ricketts: Passover and Easter Proclamations / Day of Prayer

  • This evening marks the beginning of Passover.  To everyone who will be celebrating, I wish you a Happy Passover.
  • This is also Holy Week for Christians.  This Friday will be Good Friday, and Sunday is Resurrection Day.
  • It will be an unusual time for all of us observing these holy days this week.
  • Please limit Easter and Passover celebrations to family in your household only.
    • We would all like to celebrate with extended family and friends, but it’s important to avoid social gatherings at this time.
  • As Nebraskans celebrate, I invite everyone to pray and reflect on the blessings we have been given.  I also encourage Nebraskans to pray for those affected by the pandemic.
  • Today, I am signing a proclamation to declare Easter Sunday as a Day of Prayer in Nebraska.

Gov. Ricketts: Efforts of Community Banks

  • Last week, we announced the launch of several federal programs to help our business owners during this time.
  • We want to encourage any employer who has experienced substantial financial impact from the pandemic to reach out to their community banker right now.
  • Nebraska’s 160 banks are helping keep the state working during an incredibly difficult time.
  • Nebraska banks are working tirelessly to support the credit needs of their small business clients across the state, despite a fast rollout for the Paycheck Protection Program. 
  • Banks are working extra-long days focused on accessing the SBA portal and inputting loan applications for their small business customers.
    • Community bankers are working into the night and starting their days early in the morning.
    • Many are doing this while juggling kids as they work from home.
  • As of the close of business on April 7, 2020 our community banks had already submitted over 7,800 applications for federal review, totaling in excess of $1.47 billion.

Jeff Kanger: Efforts of Community Banks

  • I am executive director of a community bank with 150 teammates.
  • We’re working with the federal government to deliver the programs included in the CARES Act.
  • Specifically, our bank is helping businesses take part in the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Just as a football game has 4 quarters, there are 4 “quarters” of the Payroll Protection Program:
    1. Processing the loan application and securing funds.
    2. Distributing the funds to small businesses so that they can meet payroll and continue operations.
    3. Documenting the use of funds by collecting receipts.
    4. Submitting receipts so that the loan can be forgiven.
  • We’re committed to partnering with businesses through all four quarters of the process.
  • Our teammates have literally been working through the night to get loan applications finalized.
  • Other community banks across Nebraska are making preparations to become part of the Paycheck Protection Program.

Gov. Ricketts: COVID-19 Messaging to Non-English Speakers

  • Communities are working hard to spread the word about COVID-19 to non-English speakers.
    • CHI St. Francis is advertising on radio and billboards in Spanish.
    • Grand Island Public Schools has been doing an excellent job of communicating with families for whom English isn’t the primary language.
    • JBS in Grand Island has been providing information on COVID-19 to their teammates who speak Spanish or Arabic.
    • News Channel Nebraska and Telemundo have been working to set up a Spanish-language news bureau in Grand Island.
    • The State of Nebraska is ramping up its efforts to distribute information in Spanish.

The Governor’s Passover proclamation is available by clicking here.  His proclamation declaring Easter as a day of prayer is available by clicking here.

Full video of the April 8 press briefing is available by clicking here.