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Administration to Provide Additional PPP Loan Data to Congress

kendra.wharton@cwt.com's picture
Commentary by Kendra Wharton

In a letter to Congressman Richard Neal, the Treasury Department and SBA agreed to provide Congress additional data on the roughly 4.7 million loans made through the Paycheck Protection Program ("PPP").

The announcement followed pushback from congressional leaders over an agreement between the Small Business Administration ("SBA"), the U.S. Department of Treasury, and bipartisan leadership of the U.S. Senate Small Business Committee to make certain PPP loan data publicly available. Specifically, for PPP loans of $150,000 or more, the SBA will publicly disclose the business names, addresses, NAICS codes, zip codes, business types, demographic data, non-profit information, jobs supported and loan amount ranges. For PPP loans of less than $150,000, which account for roughly 85 percent of the total number of loans made to date, only certain aggregated data will be made publicly available.

The Administration said the limited nature of these disclosures is intended to protect the proprietary information of small businesses that took out PPP loans. In the letter, the administration agreed to provide the relevant data to Congressional staff "in a secure format, with the expectation of providing Committees full access by the end of the week" and "with the understanding that nonpublic, personally identifiable and commercially sensitive business information will be treated as confidential."

Commentary

The Trump Administration's commitment to provide Congressional investigators access to the names and loan amounts of PPP borrowers is a significant development in the oversight of the emergency loan program, but its practical impact remains uncertain. Hours before the Administration agreed to provide Congress this data, the federal Government Accountability Office ("GAO") reported its findings that limited safeguards, inadequate guidance and poor oversight planning by the SBA have increased the likelihood that PPP borrowers could misuse or improperly receive loan proceeds. These findings signal a long road ahead as Congress and others seek answers about the funds distributed. As previously noted (see, e.g.PPP Oversight Efforts May Impact Lenders (June 22, 2020) and Federal Investigators Prepare to Investigate and Prosecute Fraud in Emergency Loan Programs (April 24, 2020), PPP lenders and borrowers should be prepared to face scrutiny from Congress, federal regulators, law enforcement and the public.

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