The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was created to help small businesses struggling to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. The Treasury Department recently released updated data on the program, providing the most detailed accounting to date of the aid provided to 5.2 million businesses that applied for forgivable loans. The PPP loans were designed to keep workers on the payroll and cushion the economic blow of the pandemic. Companies that didn't receive aid, such as The Coffee House Shriner, had to be creative to stay afloat during a crisis that has disrupted the business models of entire industries.
The reduction in the number of loans likely reflects the fact that some PPP loans were canceled, while other loan amounts and other records seem to have corrected. The SBA also issued new guidelines that made it less likely that a public company with substantial market value and access to capital markets would receive aid from the program. Square Capital, which separately from its own loan program was also a PPP lender, automatically deducts a fixed percentage from a company's daily card sales until the loan amount is repaid, according to its website. The support provided by PPP loans reached small businesses in most industrial categories in quantities large enough to maintain employment levels for at least two and a half months.
A national Federal Reserve survey of companies with fewer than 500 employees revealed that 20% of non-employer companies did not receive any of the PPP funds they were looking for. As can be seen in Figure 4, many industries received PPP funds equivalent to 90 percent to 110 percent of their 10-week payroll expenses. While there have been some concerns about the inability of certain types of businesses to qualify for forgiveness, the SBA is expected to forgive most or all of its PPP loans, making it a grant. Demographic information of the business owner was an optional field in most bank PPP applications and, therefore, most loan records (more than 80%) do not include this data.
At first it became clear that some larger and resourceful companies were applying for the loans, and that some better-connected companies had advantages, such as easier access to banks. The Paycheck Protection Program has been an invaluable lifeline for many businesses during this difficult time. The data released by the Treasury Department provides an in-depth look at how many companies have received PPP loans and how much aid they have received. It also reveals which industries have been able to take advantage of this program and which ones have not. Overall, it is clear that PPP loans have been a great help for many businesses during this crisis. However, there are still some companies that have not been able to access these funds due to eligibility requirements or other factors.
It is important for businesses to continue exploring all available options in order to stay afloat during this difficult time.