The so-called Paycheck Protection Program has provided loans to nearly 4.9 million small businesses employing 51.1 million workers in all corners of the country, according to newly released data from the Small Business Administration.
The extensive data release came after lawmakers and others criticized the Trump administration for initially trying to withhold the names of loan recipients. The new disclosure provides names and details for all loans exceeding $150,000.
“Today’s release of loan data strikes the appropriate balance of providing the American people with transparency, while protecting sensitive payroll and personal income information of small businesses, sole proprietors, and independent contractors,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
The nearly $521.5 billion in forgivable loans, designed to keep workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic, support the jobs of about 84 percent of the country’s small-business employees, according to a summary of the data.
The average loan size was about $107,000, and 86.5 percent of all loans were for less than $150,000. And about 27 percent of the loan funds went to low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, the summary said.
But 56.5 percent of all money — or about $294.7 billion — was spent on loans of $350,000 or more, the data show.
The biggest industry receiving loans was health care and social assistance, accounting for nearly $67.4 billion. That was followed by professional, scientific and technical services, at $66.4 billion; construction, at $64.6 billion; and manufacturing, at $54 billion.
About $13.5 billion in loans were made to religious, civic and nonprofit groups.
The top lender was JP Morgan Chase Bank, which made $29 billion in loans. Bank of America came in second, with $25.2 billion. They were followed by Truist Bank, PNC Bank and Wells Fargo Bank.
FiscalNote, parent company of CQ Roll Call, has received a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program.
Senate Small Business Chairman Marco Rubio, R-Fla., hailed the data release for providing “much needed transparency” to the program, which was designed as a lifeline for small businesses whose debts could be forgiven if they keep most workers employed.
According to the administration data there is $131.9 billion in outstanding funds that hasn’t yet been distributed to qualifying businesses or nonprofits. Lawmakers and the administration have been discussing how to repurpose that money in a forthcoming COVID-19 aid package to be more helpful to businesses that have chafed under the existing program’s rules, like hotels and restaurants.
Some businesses say the program hasn’t been helpful because they have to use the money too quickly, and spend too much of it on payroll, before they have a need to bring workers back. Congress has passed subsequent legislation to provide increased flexibility, but it hasn’t yet sparked demand for the remaining loan funds.
Rubio said another infusion of PPP funding could be included in the next round of coronavirus relief.
“It is clear that financial damage from the pandemic will continue to impact small businesses even as the economy re-opens,” Rubio said in a statement. “To meet these changing conditions, PPP and additional long-term recovery capital must be the priority for the next relief package.”