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Overview of First Western Trust’s COVID-19 Response

As we monitor COVID-19 and its far-reaching impacts around the globe, the health and safety of our clients, associates, and communities remains our top priority at First Western Trust. Our actions during this time reflect our dedication to each of our stakeholders, and we are working hard to ensure we can provide the best possible advice.

At the same time, given the fluidity and constant change of the situation, we encourage you to also follow the links noted below to access evolving source information.

How First Western is Helping Our Clients:

We understand these extraordinary times require a quick and flexible response.  We have a number of tools for different situations, including access to many of the tools included in the recently passed CARES Act (summarized below).  Our experienced team is ready to work with you to discuss your questions and to provide clarity and guidance wherever possible during very uncertain times.

  • If you are looking for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) details, follow these links for current information or an application from the US Small Business Association (SBA).
    • On 4/16/20, the SBA closed the window for PPP after the initial allocation of $349 billion was quickly exhausted by a flood of applications.
    • This window may re-open, based on news that Congress is working on a package for additional PPP funding.
    • We are maintaining a queue of prepared and new applications from current and prospective clients in order to be fully ready when/if the PPP window re-opens.
  • In addition to PPP, we are here to discuss your unique situation, assess options within and outside of the CARES Act, and to determine the best course of action to help you manage your needs during this time of uncertainty.
  • Our portfolio management team continues to manage client investment accounts, and stands ready to help you develop an approach to meet your ongoing and evolving needs.
  • Our trust, estate and insurance professionals are working with clients to review their plans, and are prepared to assist you and your loved ones in ensuring you are financially prepared and protected against unexpected events.
  • We are open for business. You can reach us directly by phone and email, and we are working hard to ensure the safety of all clients by shifting to a “by appointment only” approach for in-person banking services. We are taking extra care to clean and sanitize all private banking areas before and after each client appointment. For more information on staying safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19, please visit the CDC Website.
  • For your banking needs, we offer a full suite of online, mobile, telephone, and email banking options to help manage accounts, send and receive payments, and make deposits – all from the comfort of home.
    • For Private Banking needs
      • Using our online account access or mobile app, you can easily to view account history, perform transfers, initiate bill payments, and make deposits and much more. If you haven’t enrolled in our consumer online access, it only takes a few minutes and can be found here.
      • For access to short-term cash, we encourage you to use any ATM worldwide at no additional cost. Our private bankers are also available to adjust your daily ATM or Point of Sale (POS) limits in real time to accommodate your immediate needs.
      • For larger cash transactions, simply contact your private banker to arrange a transaction in any of our office locations.
    • For Commercial Banking needs
      • Our iWealth Business Banking, remote deposit and Business App services provide access and services to assist with your commercial banking needs.
      • For more information about accessing our online and app-based commercial banking services, simply contact your private banker for information and enrollment options.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities (CARES) Act

On March 27th, President Donald Trump signed into law a coronavirus related stimulus package valued at ~$2T – entitled the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities (CARES) Act.  The CARES Act is intended to assist small business owners, certain non-profit organizations and other employers withstand the short-term impacts of COVID-19.

Below is a brief summary of several components included within the CARES Act, as we currently understand them (as of 4/20/20), along with helpful links and application(s).  Given the fluidity and constant change of the situation, we encourage you to also follow the links noted below to access evolving source information.

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans
        • This program provides cash-flow assistance (up to $10 million) through 100 percent federally guaranteed and forgivable loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency.
          • The SBA closed access to this program on 4/16/20 after exhausting the initial $349 billion in allocated funds.
          • Based on news that Congress is working on a package for additional funding, access to PPP may re-open if funds become available.
        • Small businesses and other eligible entities will be able to apply if they were harmed by COVID-19 between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020.
        • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Information Sheet
        • To learn more, please visit US Department of the Treasury or US Small Business Administration (SBA).
        • To access an application:  Paycheck Protection Program Application (PPP) Form
        • Important Notes Regarding PPP Loans:
          • The SBA has stated that although the CARES Act suspends the ordinary requirements
            that borrowers must be able to obtain credit elsewhere, all borrowers “should carefully
            review” the required good faith certification that their PPP loan request is necessary to
            support ongoing operations due to current economic uncertainty.
          • Each borrower should take into account its current business activity and ability to access
            other sources of liquidity sufficient to support ongoing operations without significantly
            harming its business. As an example, the SBA notes that it is unlikely that a public
            company with substantial market value and access to capital markets will be able to
            make this certification.
          • In determining eligibility, the SBA has also clarified that lenders are not required to make
            an independent determination regarding applicability of the necessity of the loan
            request, but rather are permitted to rely on a borrower’s certifications.
          • We recommend each of our clients pay specific attention to page 2 of the SBA’s PPP
            Borrower Application Form to understand and certify that the loan request is necessary
            for their business.
          • Additional information on this topic can also be found within the SBA’s recently
            published PPP Loan FAQs

 

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) and Emergency Economic Injury Grants
        • EIDLs are lower interest loans of up to $2 million, that are available to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred.
        • Emergency Economic Injury Grants provide an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private non-profits harmed by COVID-19 within three days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).
        • To learn more, please visit US Small Business Administration
        • To access an application: COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application

 

  • Small Business (SBA) Debt Relief Program
        • This program provides immediate relief to small businesses with non-disaster SBA loans.
        • In general, businesses must meet size standards, be based in the U.S., be able to repay, and have a sound business purpose. Each program has different requirements.
        • To learn more, please visit: US Small Business Administration

 

  • Mortgage Forbearance Programs
        • Single Family Forbearance – Establishes forbearance requirements and terms for loans backed by federal government agencies or GSEs.
        • Multi-Family (5+ units) Forbearance – Borrowers may request forbearance for a 30-day period, with up to two 30-day extensions.

 

  • Changes to IRA, 401(k) and Other Retirement Plan Rules
      • Included in the CARES Act are important, but temporary (in 2020), changes to rules governing IRA, 401(k) and other qualified retirement plans, including:
        • The deadline for contributions to an IRA has been extended to July 15, 2020, matching the revised income tax filing deadline;
        • Required Minimum Distributions (“RMDs”) have been suspended for 2020;
        • 2020 will be ignored for IRAs subject to a 5-year payout,
        • Hardship Withdrawals in 2020;
        • Loans from company-sponsored retirement plans in 2020.

Risk Management During COVID-19

During this time, it remains very important to protect your personal data.  Unfortunately, scammers are exceptionally active – taking advantage of COVID-19 with a variety of phishing and hacking attacks.  Be sure to safeguard your information and personal identity by following several important rules

  • Read more
  • US Department of homeland security recently provided a CISA Update with information on cyber threats and mitigation steps during this time.
  • If you receive a suspicious email or text message, do not open, click on links, or open attachments. Do not respond in any way.
  • Please know that if we reach out to you by email or text, we will not ask for personal or confidential information—such as your card number, PIN, or online banking password.
  • Phishing emails are becoming very sophisticated, and are often difficult to distinguish from legitimate emails.  By impersonating a company, malicious emails often use clever language, such as describing an urgent need to update your information or provide personal details. To spot a phishing email, look for red flags such as:
    • An email address which does not match First Western’s – for example bank@ myfw.net, or myfw@gmail.com.
    • Emails with an urgent call to action – especially where the language contains unusual punctuation, grammar mistakes, etc.
  • Phishing texts (called smishing) use similar approaches as phishing emails, often using an urgent tone in an attempt to obtain your account or personal details.  These texts may prompt you to call a phone number or click on a link.  To spot a phishing text, look for red flags such as:
    • The text was sent by an unknown phone number, instead of one you recognize as being from First Western.
    • Unusual language or text treatment, stilted English and other characters such as arrows, ID numbers, and exclamation points.
    • Unusual identity or information requests, such as usernames, passwords, or other personally identifiable information that First Western would not normally request from you.
    • An urgent request to initiate a transfer or other related requests to send funds.

If you receive a suspicious text or email, please let us know by reporting the activity to reportsecurity@myfw.com

Let’s Have a Conversation

These are extraordinary times.  Please contact us to learn more about First Western’s tools and resources, the programs offered within the CARES Act, and our recommendations to help you protect your family, your business, and your wealth story. We are happy to schedule a telephone or in-person private banking conversation to discuss your unique situation.

Alternately, if you would like us to reach out to you, simply provide your contact information below, and we will connect with you to discuss how First Western can help.