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CHAMPAIGN — In the first round of federal Paycheck Protection Program loan applications, Busey Bank said it funded $657.3 million in loans for 2,508 customers.

Busey helped businesses and certain nonprofits sign up for the loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, which are 100 percent government-guaranteed loans to help pay employees.

The first batch of $349 billion of loans ran out in 14 days, and another $310 billion is currently being processed.

The loan processing was among the ways First Busey Corp. has responded to COVID-19, the company said this past week in its first-quarter earnings.

It offered a variety of loan-payment deferrals and certain fee waivers, and lobbies and its branches have been closed since March 19, with traffic instead going through its drive-thru windows.

Fist Busey CEO Van Dukeman said the company “took actions in early March to increase the vigilance and escalate the monitoring of susceptible industry sectors and exposures within its portfolio.”

“The progression of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States began to negatively impact the Company’s results of operations during the quarter ended March 31, 2020,” he said.

COVID-19 is expected to have a “complex and significant adverse impact” going forward, Dukeman said, but that’s “all subject to a high degree of uncertainty as it relates to both timing and severity.”

First Busey could potentially be impacted by lower margins, wealth-management fees, customer-service fees and asset quality, Dukeman said.

In the first quarter, its net income fell 39.6 percent compared to a year ago, from $25.5 million to $15.4 million. The drop was mostly attributed a one-time change based on a new way of accounting for credit losses.

In the first quarter, First Busey’s revenue increased 2.2 percent compared to a year ago, from $94.3 million to $96.4 million.


Ben Zigterman is a reporter covering business at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@bzigterman).

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