The specific information that the Small Business Administration will disclose for the Paycheck Protection Program loans will not include the name of the lenders making the loan.
On Friday, under pressure from members of Congress, the Treasury Department and SBA announced they will release the name, address, business type, demographic data and jobs supported for all loans over $150,000 made under the PPP. The loans will be grouped into categories based on the size of the loan, so the exact amount of each loan will not be disclosed.
Asked about the names of lenders, an SBA spokesperson said the only information that will be disclosed was contained in a press release announcing the change—the news release did not mention disclosure of lender data.
“We are striking the appropriate balance of providing public transparency, while protecting the payroll and personal income information of small businesses, sole proprietors, and independent contractors,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, in announcing the decision.
Mnuchin recently caused a firestorm when he told the Senate Small Business Committee that the administration would not release loan specifics because such information was proprietary. Mnuchin later reversed course and said he would negotiate with committee members about what information should be released.
Last week, Senate Banking Committee ranking Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland pointed out that specific information, including the names of lenders, involved in the SBA’s primary loan program, is available under the Freedom of Information Act.
Trump administration officials said that the data to be released for the PPP program accounts for nearly 75% of the loan dollars approved. Based on loan totals released by the SBA on Friday, that means loan information for more than four million loans—those less than $150,000—will not be released. The administration will release general information about those loans.
House Democrats last month considered legislation that would have required that the name of lenders making the loans be released, but the legislation did not receive the two-thirds vote needed to pass it under the suspension of House rules.
Critics of the PPP program have complained that large lenders have been able to process a huge number of loans, while smaller institutions have been shut out.
On Friday, Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza announced a plan that could help remedy that situation. The SBA announced an online tool that will link small businesses and non-profit organizations with Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions, and other similar lenders. “The SBA is focused on assisting eligible borrowers in underserved and disadvantaged communities and connecting them with forgivable PPP loans, especially before the June 30, 2020, application deadline,” Carranza said