Engaged Clients

If ever there were a time when clients needed the kind of advice that experienced financial professionals could provide, 2020 was that year.

When the economy is growing, stock market is thriving and hiring is picking up, businesses and their owners may think all they need from a bank is a good rate. But when events outside their control quickly limit capacity in their restaurants or keep shoppers away, they value a trusted partner who knows the ins and outs of their business and who will work tirelessly to get them the financial assistance they need.

While we believe our brand promise of distinctive service and effective advice helps us stand apart from the pack every day, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated just how much of a difference it makes.

Throughout the pandemic, our business clients could count on us to guide them through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Our teams hustled to stand up a new loan application system from scratch in a matter of weeks to be sure we were ready to help clients before the first round of funding ran out. Our financial advisors walked their clients through the application process and answered countless questions about documentation, calculations and eligibility criteria to ensure that they had a fair shot at the money.

Pinnacle was one of just a few banks to participate in the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program in case our small- and mid-sized business clients facing a temporary cash flow challenge needed another avenue to access capital. In addition, our Client Service Center and financial advisors were knowledgeable about and available to answer questions about the timing and amount of stimulus checks that many Americans counted on.

We were one of the first banks in our markets to move to a drive-thru only model when it became obvious that limiting in-person contact would help slow the spread of the virus. That shift forced us to adapt by closing loans and performing other services in a drive thru, and through it all our banking office associates were there to keep this essential business running.

Not only did we tackle all of the above in 2020, but we also continued to take market share and grow our client base by staying true to the model we’ve used since our founding in 2000.

Hire the right people.

Although our onboarding process went virtual, we continued to add experienced financial professionals across our footprint. Our Atlanta team grew quickly in its first year, hand selecting some of the best local bankers for a total team of 20. We also hired financial advisors with deep expertise in certain niche industries, like solar power and senior living.

Provide sophisticated services with a personal touch.

Everyone relied on technology at some point this year to work remotely, attend school and manage their finances. While technology allows operations to continue as normally as possible from dispersed locations, we don’t believe it replaces people. Our advisors were able to guide clients through the challenges they faced because of the depth of their expertise and hearts to serve.

Give effective advice.

We have always been structured to listen to a client’s needs and then identify solutions that can help them, instead of picking a product to push on anyone and everyone. When the pandemic hit and the economy faltered as a result, our advisors were well positioned to share their knowledge with clients and help keep their businesses afloat. Funding became more critical than ever, and Pinnacle associates guided business owners through the various programs and applications to ensure the right fit.

Make it easy to do business.

When other businesses had to shut down, we kept our offices operational while protecting associates’ and clients’ health. This meant we had to get creative with the kind of services we offered in the drive thru and by video conference while keeping our core service promises intact. Clients were comforted to know we would still answer the phone within three rings even when working at home and that we could walk them through complicated financial situations even if we couldn’t meet face to face.

Think globally. Act locally.

This phrase usually has broad environmental and political meaning, but it’s the perfect way to describe Pinnacle too. Because we’re all owners, we set goals and strategies based on what is good for the firm as a whole and take action at the local level to execute by helping meet our clients’ and neighbors’ needs.

Third-party data echoes the feedback, both anecdotal and statistical, we hear from clients.

Pinnacle earned 27 Greenwich Excellence and Best Brand Awards, the only bank in the Southeast to win more than 20, for small business and middle market banking. Greenwich Associates, a leading provider of market research in financial services, also named Pinnacle one of only a few “Standout Commercial Banks Amid Crisis” in small business banking in June and again during the fourth quarter. Learn more about how our distinctive service during the pandemic led to client loyalty and financial results.

Our own surveys tell us clients believe our people are better than the rest.

Demonstrates knowledge and experience necessary to meet my needs
Delivers against his/her commitments
Is recognizably better than his/her competitors

Our model sets us up for success in good years and makes us shine in crises. Clients’ appreciation for our service and advice allowed us to clear the economic hurdles of 2020 and win.

Response to 2020 Challenges

We live our values every day of every year, but 2020 put all seven to the test. You can see a complete list of how we responded to the varied crises of 2020 on our timeline. Here are a few that show our commitment to helping clients when they need it most.


Orders initial supply for health, safety and sanitation items for offices.

  • Shifts banking office model to drive thru only with lobbies available for specific needs by appointment.
  • Launches client education series on seven pandemic-related financial topics, such as FDIC deposit coverage, mortgage relief and small business tactics, with more than 3,000 views.
  • Offers credit relief in the form of loan payment deferrals, as well as personal recovery and home equity recovery loans.

Launches the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application, making 14,000 loans worth $2.4 billion in a matter of weeks. Conducts PPP education webinars for clients with 5,100 participants prior to launch.


Finishes processing and funding initial wave of PPP lending applications and continues accepting new applications, including targeted outreach to minority-owned businesses.


Launches PPP forgiveness, submitting 547 applications before many national banks even begin accepting them.


Participates in the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program to support small- and mid-sized business by creating another avenue for accessing credit during the pandemic.


Implements the CARES Act 4013 loan modification provision that provides guidance on modifying existing loans to help clients bridge to the other side of COVID.


Enacts a “hub and spoke” model for our banking offices to keep critical locations operating at all times and reduce the number of temporary office closures overall.