Seneca Paid Off PPP Loan with Interest

November 16, 2020

EUGENE, OR – Due to the lumber market recovery, Seneca was able to pay off its PPP loan with interest instead of applying for forgiveness.

When Seneca applied for a PPP loan in April,  lumber prices were low, demand was the lowest it had been in decades, and the drastic market disruption created by the coronavirus had resulted in rolling closures in their facilities.  The qualification for the loan gave Seneca an influx of cash that allowed them to bridge the difficult time.  They used the funds to reestablish and maintain full employment during that time of uncertainty.

Ensuing months saw lumber market improvement.  The rise in the demand for lumber was first led by homeowners who were spending more time at home and repairing or remodeling their existing homes, then it was led by homebuilders due to pent-up demand for housing starts that had been paused during the first few months of the pandemic.

The strong lumber market helped Seneca get back to business as usual. “We want to thank the SBA for the support and opportunity to help keep our employees employed during that time of uncertainty.” said Todd Payne, CEO of Seneca.

The SBA has given over 5 million PPP loans to date in a landmark lending initiative to reduce the historic loss of jobs in the US economy due to COVID-19. Most recipients will apply for and receive loan forgiveness.  Since Seneca used the PPP funds for the purpose intended, they trusted that if they applied for loan forgiveness, they would receive it as well.

“One of our core values is to do the right thing, so we had to consider the situation and decide what the right thing to do was.” said Payne.  Many things went into that consideration.  The wood products industry in Oregon continues to face challenges including the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the effects of historic megafires that will be felt for decades to come, and the threat of additional taxes in the upcoming legislative session.  The wood products industry is also experiencing lumber markets that have been favorable in the second half of this year, and Seneca currently has sufficient resources outside of PPP loan funds to maintain full employment and thrive. Ultimately, they decided that the right thing to do was to pay back the loan.

“We were thankful for the loan to help bridge the gap and keep employees working, and now we are proud to repay the loan plus interest.” said Payne.