The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was a new Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program created by the CARES Act to help small businesses keep their workers on payroll. The program provided a total of $798.7 billion to 11.7 million businesses, keeping around 90 million jobs on payroll.
Although it is clear that the PPP had a significant impact on businesses and employers, gaps in race and gender data make it challenging to determine if the program served disadvantaged individuals.
76% of borrowers, about 8.9 million, did not report their race and 61% of borrowers, or about 7.2 million, did not report their gender
In a series of reports, the SBA Office of Inspector General (OIG) highlighted factors that might have contributed to the low response rate:
- The PPP application did not include the SBA's standard fields requesting the race and gender information.
- While the CARES Act instructed the SBA to prioritize underserved markets, SBA's original guidance to lenders indicated that the program was “first come, first served.”
After the OIG released its May 2020 report, the SBA did take actions to increase the participation of underserved markets. However, the OIG noted that “without complete data on underserved markets SBA’s efforts to reach those markets may never be fully known.”