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<Press Release>

PRAC Releases Virtual Stakeholder Listening Forum with Experts Representing Borrowers and Small Business

02/17/2021

Today the PRAC’s Financial Sector Oversight working group released a new video  of a stakeholder listening forum entitled, “Pandemic Response: Perspectives from Borrowers.” The working group is comprised of Inspectors General (IGs) with oversight responsibilities in the areas of banking, lending, and housing.

These IGs organized a series of virtual panels with experts from the financial services sector to gather their insights concerning the pandemic response efforts of the federal government and inform areas for further oversight. 

The second panel in this series included speakers representing the perspective of small business borrowers concerning their experiences with programs like the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan and recommendations to improve pandemic response programs.

The panel was moderated by:

  • Sandra Bruce, Acting Inspector General for the Department of Education
  • Rich Delmar, Acting Inspector General for the Department of the Treasury

Panelists that provided input included: 

  • Larry Ivory, Chairman, National Black Chamber of Commerce and President & CEO, Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce
  • John Harmon, Sr., President & CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey
  • Rhett Buttle, Co-Executive Director, Small Business Roundtable 
  • Ramiro A. Cavazos, President & CEO, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

 “As Inspectors General charged with CARES Act oversight, it is critical that we hear and consider views from a diverse group of stakeholders concerning how pandemic relief programs have operated on-the-ground. Our expert panelists provided a wealth of important insight into the experiences of small businesses, particularly minority-owned businesses, as they navigated the pandemic and programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program,” said Ms. Bruce.

The panel discussion covered topics such as:  
•    The experience of small businesses, particularly minority-owned businesses, with the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans 
•    Lack of data collection on program recipients
•    Recommendations to improve communication between government agencies administering programs and their participants to better reach diverse audiences;
•    Fraud, waste, and abuse in pandemic response programs. 

“We greatly benefited from hearing the views of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Small Business Roundtable representing the interests of millions of small businesses across the country, and will carefully consider their thoughts and recommendations as we conduct our oversight activities and plan our future work,” said Mr. Delmar.  

Watch the full video, here.
 

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The PRAC was established by the CARES Act to promote transparency and support independent oversight of the funds provided by the CARES Act and other related emergency spending bills. In addition to its coordination and oversight responsibilities, the PRAC is tasked with supporting efforts to “prevent and detect fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement [and] mitigate major risks that cut across program and agency boundaries.”

If you have additional questions, please contact Lisa Reijula at lisa.reijula@cigie.gov

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