Minority-owned companies waited months for loans

According to the Associated Press, thousands of minority-owned small businesses were at the end of the line in the government’s coronavirus relief program as many struggled to find banks that would accept their applications or were disadvantaged by the terms of the program.

Data from the Paycheck Protection Program released Dec. 1 and analyzed by AP show that many minority owners desperate for a relief loan didn’t receive one until the PPP’s last few weeks while many more white business owners were able to get loans earlier in the program .

The program, which began April 3 and ended Aug. 8 and handed out 5.2 million loans worth $525 billion, helped many businesses stay on their feet during a period when government measures to control the coronavirus forced many to shut down or operate at a diminished capacity. But it struggled to meet its promise of aiding communities that historically haven’t gotten the help they needed.

Congress has approved a third, $284 billion round of PPP loans. While companies that did not get loans previously have another chance at help, according to a draft of the legislation, businesses hard-hit by the virus outbreak will be eligible for a second loan.

The first round of the program saw overwhelming demand and the Small Business Administration approved $349 billion in loans in just two weeks. But many minority-owned firms applied to multiple banks early in the program and were rejected, while others couldn’t get banks to respond to their applications and inquiries.

“Many of our businesses were being turned down in the first and second round of funding. That caused application fatigue and frustration,” says Ron Busby, president of the U.S. Black Chambers, a nationwide chamber of commerce.

Read more at the Associated Press.

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