Struggling minority-owned businesses were kept waiting until the last minute for PPP loans

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Kevin Shalvey
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President Trump speaks at the White House
President Trump signed the CARES Act, which contains the Paycheck Protection Program, into law on March 27, 2020. Alex Wong / Getty Images
  • Many minority-owned businesses were left waiting for funds until the final weeks of the Paycheck Protection Program, according to an analysis from The Associated Press.

  • "Many of our businesses were being turned down in the first and second round of funding. That caused application fatigue and frustration," Ron Busby, president of the US Black Chambers, told AP. 

  • The new $900 billion coronavirus relief bill includes $284 billion in PPP funds, along with provisions to help minority-owned businesses get loans, said the Center for Responsible Lending, an advocacy group.

  • "And a provision for streamlined forgiveness for small loans will prevent a major debt burden from further threatening many of the mom-and-pop firms that are often owned by Black and Latino families," said CRL.

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Many minority-owned businesses were left waiting for funds until the final weeks of the Paycheck Protection Program, according to an analysis from The Associated Press.

The program handed out $525 billion in funding from April 3 to August 8. But businesses in mostly white ZIP codes got the lion's share of relief until the final month, when the "pattern reversed itself," according to data the AP sued for under the Freedom of Information Act. 

The AP analysis builds on previous reporting from Vox, PBS News Hour, Inc., and other outlets. 

"Many of our businesses were being turned down in the first and second round of funding. That caused application fatigue and frustration," Ron Busby, president of the US Black Chambers, told AP. 

Another $284 billion has been approved by Congress, as part of a $900 billion bill. President Donald Trump signed the 5,593-page coronavirus relief bill last Sunday night. 

The new bill includes funding carved out for lenders that historically have more minority-owned businesses as customers, including both Minority Depository Institutions and Community Development Financial Institutions. 

The Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), an advocacy group, on December 21, said: "A provision for streamlined forgiveness for small loans will prevent a major debt burden from further threatening many of the mom-and-pop firms that are often owned by Black and Latino families."

The data AP based its analysis came out in early December, as congress debated a new economic stimulus package. Then, media reports noted that conservative organizations including Project Veritas and Ayn Rand Institute had lined up for PPP funds.   

"Black-owned small businesses were widely shut out from accessing PPP loans, yet right-wing disinfo org PV took half a million in public money while decrying direct federal assistance as 'radical socialism,'" Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter in early December. 

In May, officials from the CRL urged congress to do more for minority-owned businesses, which support 8.7 million jobs. It said even though the companies' annual total payroll is about $280 billion, many don't have existing ties to lenders responsible for handing out PPP loans. 

"This strongly disfavored businesses owners of color, who generally do not have these relationships and access," CRL said in a statement at the time.  

Read the original article on Business Insider