WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate passed a deal this week to replenish funding for the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP), the loan program designed to help small businesses slammed by the coronavirus crisis. Lawmakers agreed to send an additional $310 billion to the PPP, which ran out of its initial funding capacity last week. The majority of these new funds will continue to go to wealthier and white businesses leaving smaller businesses of color without their fair share.
Center for Responsible Lending Federal Advocacy Director and Senior Counsel Ashley Harrington made the following statement:
“Businesses of color employ more than 8.7 million Americans and generate more than $1.38 trillion dollars to the overall economy. The Senate is exacting damage on whole communities, states, and regions when these businesses cannot access the Small Business Administration’s PPP funds to keep their doors open and maintain their employees. Businesses of color were locked out of round one of the SBA PPP, and the Senate’s new proposal fails to ensure that they will have access to the new $310 billion.
“This bill distributes most of the funding again to large banks that prioritized wealthier businesses over small businesses. It includes set-asides for community banks and credit unions. Unfortunately, they have poor track records of serving borrowers of color. Instead, the proposal should have provided specific dollar funding for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), as they have the strongest track record of serving borrowers of color and are least likely to access PPP funding under its current structure. This bill also fails to ensure equity and transparency by providing data on borrower demographics and loan amounts.
“We hope that the SBA will step up where Congress has failed and take steps to ensure equitable access to this program so that all communities are able to weather this storm. The SBA can specifically allocate resources for CDFIs and MDIs and it can require robust data collection from all participating lenders. Wealthy companies already got more than their fair share of the PPP, now it’s time for small businesses owned by Blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans to have the access they were denied.”