The world certainly has changed quickly over the couple of months. We first started the year with low interest rates and low inventory on homes for sale. Now we are living in a new environment because of COVID-19. COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on our economy and the health and welfare of our citizens. Millions of people have been temporarily been laid off. This is causing economic hardship for all of them. Businesses and families have to adjust to the stay at home mandate that Governor Evers has implemented. Essential employees are still working while we over this terrible virus. I want to give a big shout out to all of the health care professionals, farmers, delivery services and real estate and financial services industries employees. Who are still working during these times to help all of us.
Banks remain open, but lobbies are temporarily closed during the stay at home mandate. However, we are working around the clock to help support our business partners and their employees during these times. We have been actively involved in working with business assisting in deferring business loan payments and helping them secure funds through the paycheck protection program. The payment protection plan provides funding for small business owners with under 500 employees. Helping the businesses retain their employees.
Rates are at historic levels due to the down turn in the economy. For many people this has provided an opportunity to refinance or purchase a new home at these record low rates. Applications are at a level that we have not seen for many years. Banks are having a difficult time in handling the volume. Most bank employees are working remotely at this time. This is causing additional strain on meeting our customer financial needs. But we are still getting the job done! With that being said, if you are able to refinance or purchase a home, this is a great time. But you better be prepared! You will need to make sure that you have all of your documentation ready for your lender. Appraisals are taking up to 4 weeks to get completed. So, while you may be able to lock in your low rate, quick closings are not going to be possible. Your realtor and banker will help guide you through the maze of changes currently taking place. You will get that loan to finance your home, but it might be a little longer than you planned.
In the end, our country, people and our economy will come out of these times. What has happened to us, will ultimately make us all stronger in the long run.