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Area bank surpasses $1 billion in PPP loans

CreditBench lending part of the COVID-19 Relief Act passed in 2020 by Congress.

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  • | 12:10 p.m. March 8, 2021
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  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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First Home Bank’s small business lending division has surpassed $1 billion in Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loans, which is part of the COVID-19 Relief Act passed by the U.S. Congress last year.

CreditBench, First Home’s U.S. Small Business Administration lending arm, is one of the largest lenders in the Tampa Bay region of the forgivable PPP loans, which are intended to cover businesses’ payroll, rent and other expenses during the pandemic to avoid layoffs and business disruption.

The St. Petersburg lender says one-third of its PPP loans went to Florida businesses and impacted more than 41,000 jobs in the state.

PPP loans are available to companies and sole proprietors, the self-employed and independent contractors. The loans require neither collateral nor a personal guarantee.

“The PPP program has been a critical lifeline for the small, independent, locally owned companies who’ve been decimated by COVID-19,” says Tom Zernick, CreditBench’s president, in a statement. “We are proud to help support our community by providing access to these loans.”

First Home Bank’s parent is First Home Bancorp Inc., which operated six full-service banking centers in the Tampa Bay area at the end of last year.

The company specializes in providing lending services to small businesses nationwide that are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration, and it also derives a significant portion of its earnings and loan production from a nationwide residential mortgage lending division with 28 residential loan production offices across the country.



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