Coronavirus crisis: San Fernando Valley small business owner credits Chase bank for 'smooth, seamless' loan process

As round two begins for Paycheck Protection Program, small San Fernando Valley company Butterie was able to continue running its business thanks to a headache-free bank loan process.
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. (KABC) -- Small businesses are taking the biggest hit from the economic standstill triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. And the Paycheck Protection Program is proving difficult to navigate for some. However, one local business owner has been able to keep her company running, thanks to the efforts of a helpful bank.

Four years ago, San Fernando Valley native Joelle Mertzel started her own business.

"I created Butterie, which is the world's only butter dish I have it right here," said Mertzel.

Just before COVID-19, things were good.

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Before the government reached its limit on lending relief money to small businesses, some top universities and restaurant chains received millions as thousands of mom and pop shops waited for loans to help them stay afloat.

"It was really good. I am a wholesale business, so about 90% of my business is selling to stores," said Mertzel.

But the effects of the pandemic tricked down and like countless business owners around the world, cash was quickly drying up.

"I never in a million years thought it was going to hit our soil and affect our way of living - the way it has," said Mertzel.

For too many, applying for the Paycheck Protection Program was headache-inducing or discouraging.

"Definitely want to be sensitive because I recognize that that a lot of people have the same kind of experience that I had," said Mertzel.

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The Los Angeles Lakers have returned nearly $5 million that they received from the federal government through a program intended to help small businesses stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, according to ESPN.

Mertzel credits her bank for helping make the process fast and smooth.

"I was able to apply and then like two days later, on a Sunday I got in touch with or one of their bankers got in touch with me to process my application," said Mertzel. "And then, on Monday I was told that it was approved and Tuesday it was funded. I couldn't believe it. It was like so quick, so seamless."

Her bank, Chase, told Eyewitness News more than 60% of their loans went to clients with fewer than 25 employees. Mertzel has five people on payroll. For her, the bottom line is they will keep getting paid.

"The loan, while it's amazing for my business what it's really amazing for my employees, and the fact that you know they have, you know, a little bit more security. And I just, I'm so indebted to them. They're amazing," said Mertzel.

A Chase spokesperson says applications are processed in the order they were received. If you have already applied - you are in the queue. We also understand the bank is advising clients to have paperwork at-the-ready to facilitate any follow-up questions.

Looking for more information? You can find COVID-19 help, information and resources here.
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