On June 19, the SBA announced “enhanced transparency” measures for the PPP program. In its statement issued on the sba.gov website, the agency said that they “will disclose the business names, addresses, NAICS codes, zip codes, business type, demographic data, non-profit information, jobs supported, and loan amount ranges” for all businesses who received PPP loans of over $150,000. For those businesses whose PPP loans were less than $150,000, the SBA has released aggregate data, which can be viewed here. Banks and credit unions who processed the SBA loans do not release such information.
Why Release Business Data?
The announcement by the SBA comes on the heels of some controversy involving businesses the average American might not consider to be “small businesses”, despite the fact that those businesses fit the categorization criteria of the SBA. Even more controversial were businesses with big bank accounts or backers who applied for and received the PPP funds, despite relatively clear knowledge that the business had no need for the funds — or at least much less need than smaller, harder hit businesses — when many smaller businesses applied funds, but did not receive any. Finally, some businesses who received PPP funds have fairly close ties to certain politicians, giving at least the appearance of favoritism.
Thus, the SBA and bipartisan members of Congress agreed that the names and other data about the businesses who received larger loans would be released.
What Data is Being Released?
For loans of $150,000 or more, the SBA released the following data:
- Business names
- NAICS codes
- ZIP codes
- Business type
- Demographic data
- Non-profit information
- Number of jobs supported
- Lender name
The actual loan amount for each business was not disclosed. Instead, the dollar amounts disclosed in the following ranges:
- $350,000-$1 million
- $1 million-$2 million
- $2 million-$5 million
- $5 million-$10 million
Loans of more than $150,000 account for nearly three-quarters of the dollar volume of PPP loans.
For PPP loans less than $150,000, the SBA did not release business names, but did report loan totals, aggregated by ZIP code, by industry, by business type, and by various demographic categories. These loans account for the large majority of the total number of loans. That report is available here.
What Do You Need to Do?
Ben Brazell, Chief Administrative Officer at First Reliance Bank in Florence, SC, commented about how First Reliance is handling the release of their customers’ information: “We view this release by the government agencies as our opportunity to be an advisor to our business customers. They need to know — and most of them do not know — that the government is publicizing their business information under the specific context of having applied for and received a PPP loan. We’re taking the proactive approach of helping businesses get in front of any public relations issues that may arise because of their participation in the PPP.” Brazell added, “We’re an intermediary in this transaction between the SBA and the business, and the government has made the decision to make PPP borrowers known.”
At this point, there is very little any business can do, if they’ve received a PPP loan for more than $150,000. The government has released that information. Business owners, more than anything, simply need to be aware of that release, and that it is the government who is releasing the information, not the lenders.