Jun 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Treasury to release names of some businesses that received PPP loans

Illustration of a pair of cupped hands holding a pile of money, with some falling through

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration plan to release the names of businesses that received $150,000 or more in Paycheck Protection Program loans, the agencies announced Friday.

Why it matters: Taxpayers bailed out millions of small businesses seeking relief from the coronavirus pandemic with hundreds of billions of dollars in PPP loans. Any lack of transparency around where the money went could have made it more difficult to know how well the program worked, Axios' Dan Primack reported last week.

Details: Business names, addresses, zip codes, demographic data, jobs supported and nonprofit information will be disclosed from the businesses that received $150,000 or more in PPP loans. These amounts account for roughly 75% of dollars lent.

  • Detailed loan numbers won’t be revealed, but the government will put each loan in one of five categories ranging from $150,000 to the maximum loan amount of $10 million, per the agencies.
  • Information on businesses that received loans under $150,000 will be totaled up and "aggregated by zip code, by industry, by business type, and by various demographic categories," the agencies said.
  • Axios returned the PPP loan that it qualified for.

But, but, but, via the Wall Street Journal: "Un­der the pol­icy an­nounced Fri­day, how­ever, most of the bor­row­ers who took ad­van­tage of the tax­payer-funded for­givable loans will re­main un-known. Of the roughly 4.6 mil­lion bor­row­ers in the pro­gram, about 86% took out loans worth less than $150,000, ac­cord­ing to data re­leased by the SBA."

What they're saying: “We value transparency and our fiduciary responsibility to ensure American taxpayer funds are used appropriately," SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said in a statement. "This responsibility goes together with the steps we are now taking to provide needed public information while protecting entrepreneurs’ personally identifiable information, such as a home address associated with their business loan."

  • “Small businesses are the driving force of our economic stability and are leading the way to allow our nation to rebound safely.”
  • “The Treasury Department finally gave in to public pressure from Democrats because their position of hiding which businesses have received PPP loans was untenable," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. "This reversal is a good start and will help us determine if taxpayer money went where Congress intended—to the truly small and unbanked small business. Democrats will continue to push for maximum transparency from the Trump administration, especially when it comes to CARES Act funds."

Context: White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said last week that the Trump administration never promised to release the names of businesses that received forgivable PPP loans as a part of the CARES Act.

What to watch: The PPP loan application process remains open through June 30.

  • The agencies didn’t specify when the data would be released.

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