Pandemic Banking: Small North Texas banks step in where big banks can’t

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ROCKWALL COUNTY, TEXAS (KDAF) – Despite lawmakers passing recovery and aid packages intended to provide relief for small businesses, navigating these assistance programs can be a bureaucratic nightmare.

The big banks are often not of much help during these times. This has created an opportunity for small community banks to step in and fill the gaps, something not common in the age of big retail-style banks.

One such bank is Lakeside Bank, the oldest and only locally-owned bank in Rockwall County, which has stepped in to do what some of the nation’s biggest banks wouldn’t.

“While we offer the same services as major institutions, we look at the market through a small bank lens. Every client receives the same level of personal attention,” says Lakeside President and CEO Paul Haney.

Unlike many of the big banks, there are no two-tier systems used to determining whose applications for aid and assistance would be submitted first. All loans are given the same priority.

“Since opening the doors to my small children’s shop eight years ago, I fulfilled my business banking needs through a large national bank,” says Ailsa H. Ellis, owner of Layette children’s boutique in the Shops of Highland Park. “During the uncertainty of COVID 19 and applying for the Payroll Protection Program, I quickly learned that a big national bank was not the best fit for helping my small, local business. At Lakeside, I was able to speak with a banker directly, get my questions answered, and receive guidance on how to proceed.”

You might not think small business when you think of the Dallas Zoo, but they’re a non-profit who relies heavily on donations and ticket sales. Even they have benefited from a bank like Lakeside.

“Having our gates closed for the last six weeks has had a significant impact on our bottom line” says Dallas Zoo CEO Gregg Hudson, “Lakeside Bank’s guidance and open communication throughout the process—and its ability to deliver on our behalf—was invaluable to us.”

Small community banks were once the center piece for most banking needs of America. The pandemic will perhaps bring a little of that back.

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