First State - Paycheck Protection Program

First State Bank Nebraska Successfully Completes 99% of Loan Applications, Helping Hundreds of Small Businesses Stay Open

Last week, Bloomberg released figures showing Nebraska as having the highest number of successful Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications processed based on eligible payroll. Among the lenders leading the charge to help Nebraska businesses was First State Bank Nebraska, who successfully helped 400 small businesses secure PPP funds before the program ran out of money on Friday. The funds helped retain an estimated 3,000 jobs in the Omaha and Lincoln area.

First State Bank Nebraska employees worked long hours to process the hundreds of applications that poured in once the program went live on Friday, April 4, 2020. Says Keith Jantzen, Chief Lending Officer “We worked through the night and over the weekends to deliver for our customers and communities and processed 99% of applications we received prior to the program running out of funds.” Among the many businesses helped was the Mettle Grill, a restaurant located in Hickman, a suburb of Lincoln. “I had kept most of our staff employed through this difficult time, but this week was the first time since we opened that I was concerned about making payroll,” says Mettle Grill General Manager, Susantha "Sus" Weerasinghe. He continues by saying, “After I found out I had been approved this week and signed the loan documents through First State Bank, funds were deposited the next day and I was more than thankful to all because this was sincerely the "lifeboat" that we needed to keep the restaurant open and staff employed!”

As a community bank, First State Bank Nebraska serves families, small business, and farms located in and around Omaha and Lincoln. When the government announced the Paycheck Protection Program, the bank quickly mobilized its team to not only process the PPP loans, but to also provide education and resources about the program to the community. CEO and President, Jerry Lentfer, notes that “Our efforts during the Paycheck Protection Program highlight what we do every day, put customers and community first.”

While Congress debates whether to release additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program, Executive Vice President of First State Bank Nebraska, Jeff Kanger, states that the bank “is watching closely and will do what we can to respond quickly to process additional loans if and when the time comes.” Until then, the bank continues to serve its customers at its local branches for essential in-person banking and has many team members working remotely from the safety of home in order to handle loan processing, insurance, and other financial services.

To learn more about the bank’s efforts or to be connected with a small business helped by the PPP loan program, you may contact Jeff Kanger, Executive Vice President of First State Bank Nebraska, at (402) 858-1253 or via email at