Service Above Self Defined Installation Tells Story of Pandemic Crisis Through Eyes of F&M Bank Employees

May 04, 2021

The installation honors the 179 F&M employees who consumed 16,000 take-out meals - away from their families during the pandemic - while processing 4,198 Paycheck Protection Program loan applications to save 83,267 local jobs.

LONG BEACH, CA (May 4, 2021) - Farmers & Merchants Bank (F&M Bank) will be hosting a display in the lobby of our Main office at 302 Pine Avenue in Long Beach from May 4- May 7 and at our Orange County Headquarters at 4695 MacArthur Court, Suite 130 in Newport Beach from May 11- May 14. The installation includes: 16 empty take-out containers on a desk, each representing 1,000 meals consumed by F&M employees while they worked long nights, weekends and holidays away from their families processing PPP loans; a stack of 4,200 papers on a desk, representing the number of PPP loans processed by F&M Bank last year; and 83 aprons across 8 garment racks, each representing 1,000 local jobs saved by F&M’s PPP efforts.

When the State of California issued a mandatory stay-at-home order on March 19, 2020, businesses were shuttered in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Grocery stores, pharmacies, emergency services, and banks were exempted as essential services. While not first responders, bankers are frontline workers who provide an essential service to people: access to their money. Farmers & Merchants Bank’s Service Above Self Defined: An Installation tells this story through the eyes of our employees.

F&M Bank did not close any locations or reduce office hours, as our employees chose to ride out this storm with our clients and our community. Communication to clients increased regarding the safety and cleanliness of our branches and alternative ways to bank, such as F&M’s Online & Mobile Banking.

When the SBA rolled out the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), 179 F&M employees worked around the clock, not only processing PPP loan applications, but also implementing new technology to make the application and forgiveness process simple and efficient for our clients. Often going to clients’ homes and places of business to obtain signatures and documents, F&M employees ensured our clients that there was a real person who cared about them and was fighting for their business.

During 2020, F&M Bank led the Long Beach area with the highest volume of processed loan applications for the first round of PPP loans with 4,198 loans totaling $713 million, saving 83,267 local jobs. And, after obtaining PPP loans for their clients, F&M employees quickly shifted to obtaining PPP loan forgiveness on behalf of their clients. Today, 77% of F&M’s PPP borrowers have applied for loan forgiveness. By comparison, the SBA has received 55% of forgiveness applications as of April 8, 2021 (the last data point). $381.7 million of forgiveness funds have been received by F&M Bank as of April 27, 2021, and 99.9% of F&M’s forgiveness applicants are applying for and receiving full loan forgiveness.

Difficult times bring out the best in people, said Daniel K. Walker, F&M Bank Chairman of the Board and CEO. We are extremely proud of the outstanding job the entire F&M Bank team has shown, with tremendous resiliency to keep our clients safe and provide the service and attention they have come to expect.

At F&M Bank, our employees are the heartbeat of our company and are truly our greatest asset. While technology may simplify processes and make them more efficient, it is not a substitute for a voice on the other end of the phone or a response to a text or email. People make the difference.

For more information on the PPP loan program, visit F&M’s PPP Knowledge Center at www.fmb.com/PPP-Knowledge-Center.

About Farmers & Merchants Bank

Founded in Long Beach in 1907 by C.J. Walker, Farmers & Merchants Bank provides white-glove service to clients at 25 branches from San Clemente to Santa Barbara, as well as through robust Online and Mobile Banking platforms. The Bank offers commercial and small business banking, business loan programs, home loans, and a robust offering consumer retail banking products, including checking, savings and youth accounts. Farmers & Merchants Bank is a California state-chartered bank with deposits insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (Member FDIC) and an Equal Housing Lender. For more information about F&M, please visit the website, www.fmb.com.