The Paycheck Protection Plan’s Impact on Professional Services
Pamela Lynn Colón has been providing legal services in St. Croix since 2003. As with many professionals, the lockdown has challenged her to keep providing services under unexpected circumstances.
“The federal law system has been operating for many procedures through teleconferences – except for trials. On the other hand, the local court has been more restricted and using a drop box for filing complaints and documents. It’s been open only for arraignments and domestic violence situations”, explains Colón.
“This meant that work had to be done,” she elaborates, providing some context on how she and her three employees have been busy. Nevertheless, with a limited influx of income, Colón had to let go of one of her employees, at least temporarily, while two others were working from home.
The Payment Protection Program allowed her to recruit that employee back and to stabilize the operation for the next couple of months.
Applying to SBA
Colón recalls hearing form the SBA’s program in the news. She could not get in contact with SBA’s officers for information, so she decided to look up details through websites of different banks. “I do my banking with different banks, but kept exploring the Oriental Bank’s website”, she explains.
“I was very appreciative of the process, of how user-friendly everything was, and the explicit details about the steps required for the application”, says Colón. She finally decided to start the process through Oriental. Once she completed a request, “I got the first email with instructions and example applications, which was very useful. The next day, I applied, and it was very easy because I already knew what I had to do. The DocuSign feature is very good and convenient”.
Eventually, Colón’s application was approved. She also applied and received other loans, so she has been able to keep her team together.
She had such a good experience that she decided to open an account with Oriental. “I didn’t have a commercial account with Oriental. I am opening one now. I had to visit the local branch … I was impressed with the personal, one to one service. At the local branch, the team is very customer-oriented, so kind, and very organized. And they are very mindful of security measures and protocols, and social distancing”, she adds.