Facing congressional pressure, the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration said Friday that they will disclose details of most loans made through the Paycheck Protection Program, the $660 billion coronavirus rescue package for small businesses.
The Small Business Administration will provide names and other details of companies and nonprofits that received loans of $150,000 or more, which the administration says accounts for about 75% of the loan dollars approved. Loan amounts will be given in ranges rather than exact amounts. But the new policy will only apply to a minority of the more than 4.6 million loan recipients, as borrowers with loans below $150,000 will not be identified, though some general information, such as zip codes and industry types, will be released.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had sparked controversy last week when he said that details of the loans would be proprietary and confidential. Mnuchin said the new agreement with the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Small Business Committee “will strike the appropriate balance of providing public transparency, while protecting the payroll and personal income information of small businesses, sole proprietors, and independent contractors.”
A critic, Danielle Brian of the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight, charged that the new policy falls short. “This is absolutely not enough,” Brian said. “By grouping the loan amounts [into ranges] we’re still not going to have the kind of information we need to ensure that money is going to the right people ... those who really need it.”
The PPP, which has made more than 4.6 million loans worth $514 billion, is scheduled to wind down at the end of June.