3 Takeaways from CapStar Director of Government Guaranteed Lending Mark Niethammer on PPP Originations

Sal Trifilio

December 09, 2020

CapStar Bank was founded in 2008 and over the last 12 years has worked to become one of the nation's top SBA lenders by volume. Headquartered in Nashville, TN, the $3B asset institution serves 22 locations across 12 counties in their home state, and currently has a presence in a total of 35 states--in part thanks to three recent acquisitions during 2020.

As a modern institution, CapStar takes a high-tech approach to banking in order to support their clients needs, while maintaining a focus on providing an exceptional, relationship-based customer experience.

This acute focus on community made them a go-to lender for small businesses in their communities when the pandemic hit and the Paycheck Protection Program was announced.

As the Director of Government Guaranteed Lending for CapStar, Mark Niethammer was chiefly responsible for spearheading the bank’s response to PPP; a response he knew needed to be supported by technology.

On Tuesday, Dec. 8, Mark joined our insights team to talk about the experience he's had throughout PPP. Here are three takeaways he shared with our team based on his experience helping distribute PPP loans, saving more than 26,000 local jobs in the process.

  • Providing an exceptional PPP Origination experience opens opportunities for new customer acquisition. As a leading SBA lender, Mark said CapStar saw it as their duty to offer PPP loans and help their communities’ struggling small businesses. Leveraging Numerated’s PPP platform allowed them to offer a convenient digital experience that not only satisfied their customers' needs, but helped them acquire new business clients from competitors. “We've gotten lots of feedback from frustrated customers who went to their regional or their national bank and didn't get their time or attention. So, [PPP has] opened up a lot of doors for opportunity for us,” Mark said. By his count, nearly 45 percent of all their PPP borrowers were new customers who never had prior experience with CapStar.
  • Efficient, successful PPP lending cannot be done without the help of technology. There’s not a lender that participated in PPP that didn’t, at some point or another, feel the crunch of unprecedented demand. But CapStar had a unique experience in that the institution was ramping up their PPP originations at the same time as they were working on completing two acquisitions. Using the Numerated platform, CapStar was able to centralize PPP lending for their institution and the one’s joining them, allowing them to create a consistent and scalable experience that wasn’t possible if done manually, or with any other platform available on the market. “The challenge that we had,” Mark said, “was trying to onboard the two new banks and welcome their customers in, and introduce them to [CapStar] at the same time. We could not have been successful without having access to the platform, to give you an idea of just how vital it was.”
  • Winning the next wave of PPP comes down to one factor: adaptation. While it may feel like a distant memory now, it was just a few months ago that we were in the thick of PPP lending and the SBA was issuing new guidance on an almost daily basis. Lenders that were most successful were able to adapt, and worked with partners that were equally as flexible. As Mark recounted, you “don't know what the rules are going to be. You don't know how things are going to shift, but you've got to be very nimble. And one thing that's been tremendous is, throughout the changes that have been coming down the pipeline, Numerated has been there every step along the way, making sure that all the calculations--all the supporting information--is accurate. So it's one less thing that we've had to worry about, which has made us really, really successful.” With the next wave of PPP, adaptation skills learned during the first two tranches of funding will be key to conquering the next.

Mark’s perspective, given his role as Director of Government Guaranteed Lending inside of CapStar Bank, is unique and an important one to reflect on for banks and credit unions that participated in PPP and are preparing for a new wave of funding.

Watch the 30-min on-demand webinar above to get a detailed look at CapStar’s use of technology throughout PPP Originations and Forgiveness and to learn more about how they’re gearing up for a potential additional round of funding.

For more content like this register for one of our upcoming Weekly Tuesday Q&A Sessions or Weekly Friday Platform Demos.

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