Report: Publicly traded firms get $300M in small-business loans

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  • Source: We the People Convention
  • 04/21/2020
Companies with thousands of employees, past penalties from government investigations and risks of financial failure even before the coronavirus walloped the economy were among those receiving millions of dollars from a relief fund that Congress created to help small businesses through the crisis, an Associated Press investigation found.

The Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to infuse small businesses, which typically have less access to quick cash and credit, with $349 billion in emergency loans that could help keep workers on the job and bills paid on time.

But at least 75 companies that received the aid were publicly traded, the AP found, and some had market values well over $100 million. And 25% of the companies had warned investors months ago — while the economy was humming along — that their ability to remain viable was in question.

By combing through thousands of regulatory filings, the AP identified the 75 companies as recipients of a combined $300 million in low-interest, taxpayer-backed loans.

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Myth/Lie #2 Small business got most of the money. Reality As the SBA shows, yes 74% of the loans went to small business, but the number that matters, which is the dollar amounts lent, small business only received 17% of the cash! 70% of the loans were made in amounts greater than $350,000 and the average loan was over $200,000.
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Eight companies, or their subsidiaries, received the maximum $10 million possible, including a California software company that settled a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation late last year into accounting errors that overstated its revenue.

The eight firms getting maximum loans are likely just a tip of the iceberg: Statistics released last week by the U.S. Small Business Administration showed that 4,400 of the approved loans exceeded $5 million. Overall, the size of the typical loan nationally was $206,000, according to the statistics. SBA will forgive the loans if companies meet certain benchmarks, such as keeping employees on payroll for eight weeks.

The list of recipients identified by the AP is a fraction of the 1.6 million loans that lenders approved before the program was depleted last week, but it is the most complete public accounting to date. Neither the Trump administration nor the lending industry has disclosed a list of Paycheck Protection Program beneficiaries.

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Representatives of the SBA, which is overseeing the program, did not respond to a request for comment late Monday. But last Friday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a written statement that most of the loans, 74%, were for less than $150,000 and that demonstrated “the accessibility of this program to even the smallest of small businesses.”

President Donald Trump, asked Monday whether the criteria for who can receive loans should change, said that “we’ll look at individual things and some people will have to return it if we think it’s inappropriate.” He added that the loans are supposed to be awarded, in part, by "what we think is right.”

The AP analysis comes as lawmakers from both political parties negotiate an additional relief package that in large part would replenish the Paycheck Protection Program with more than $300 billion, but there are disagreements about terms for the new funding measure. A final deal could come as early as Tuesday.

But at least 75 companies that received the aid were publicly traded, the AP found, and some had market values well over $100 million. And 25% of the companies had warned investors months ago — while the economy was humming along — that their ability to remain viable was in question.

By combing through thousands of regulatory filings, the AP identified the 75 companies as recipients of a combined $300 million in low-interest, taxpayer-backed loans.

Eight companies, or their subsidiaries, received the maximum $10 million possible, including a California software company that settled a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation late last year into accounting errors that overstated its revenue.

The eight firms getting maximum loans are likely just a tip of the iceberg: Statistics released last week by the U.S. Small Business Administration showed that 4,400 of the approved loans exceeded $5 million. Overall, the size of the typical loan nationally was $206,000, according to the statistics. SBA will forgive the loans if companies meet certain benchmarks, such as keeping employees on payroll for eight weeks.

The list of recipients identified by the AP is a fraction of the 1.6 million loans that lenders approved before the program was depleted last week, but it is the most complete public accounting to date. Neither the Trump administration nor the lending industry has disclosed a list of Paycheck Protection Program beneficiaries.

Representatives of the SBA, which is overseeing the program, did not respond to a request for comment late Monday. But last Friday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a written statement that most of the loans, 74%, were for less than $150,000 and that demonstrated “the accessibility of this program to even the smallest of small businesses.”

President Donald Trump, asked Monday whether the criteria for who can receive loans should change, said that “we’ll look at individual things and some people will have to return it if we think it’s inappropriate.” He added that the loans are supposed to be awarded, in part, by "what we think is right.”

The AP analysis comes as lawmakers from both political parties negotiate an additional relief package that in large part would replenish the Paycheck Protection Program with more than $300 billion, but there are disagreements about terms for the new funding measure. A final deal could come as early as Tuesday.

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