Pandemic-inspired small-business loans expose inequities that must be fixed

When the pandemic struck just over a year ago and stopped our economy in its tracks, Congress responded with the largest small-business loan program in U.S. history.

When it concludes this May, the Paycheck Protection Program will have provided $784 billion in forgivable loans to nearly 4 million small businesses. Yet a shockingly small percentage of those loans have gone to Black- and Latinx-owned small businesses.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, which administers the PPP, of the 996,000 loans that included information on the borrower’s race, 71 percent of the money went to white-owned businesses. Only 12 percent of Black- and Latinx-owned small businesses received the full assistance they requested.

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