Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department and Small Business Administration (SBA) made public a list of companies that received more than $150,000 in loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
According to the SBA, 87 percent of loans were less than $150,000 and that the average loan is $107,000.
So far, the administration has approved 4.9 million loans totaling $521 billion, which it reports has supported over 51 million jobs.
The release is part of Congress’s CARES Act , where Democrats pushed for transparency regarding who receives government relief.
Initially, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the administration might not disclose the names and amounts requested by those seeking PPP loans over privacy concerns during a hearing before the Senate Small Business Committee on June 10. The administration later consented and announced this release of borrowers receiving over $150,000.
“Given the many problems with the PPP program, it is imperative American taxpayers know if the money is going where Congress intended — to the truly small and unbanked small business,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer following Mnuchin’s testimony.
Two notable borrowers, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and TGI Fridays, with 210 and 500 locations across the U.S., respectively, each received between $5 million and $10 million in loans. Both are owned by New York-based private equity firm TriArtisan Capital Advisors, according to Associated Press.
P.F. Chang’s says that the loan allowed 12,000 workers to remain employed. But whether these companies fall under the definition of small business or not is a source of continued controversy.
In May, the Treasury Department threatened public companies that received loans with penalties if they did not return the funds. Some, such as New York-based burger chain Shake Shack and the L.A. Lakers NBA team pledged to give back funds.
Since the publicly traded borrowers qualified for the loans intended for small businesses, the legal ramifications for keeping the loans were few. Still, public scrutiny likely led companies like Shake Shack and the L.A. Lakers to return borrowed money.
Legacy Housing Corp, a publicly-traded Texas-based housing manufacturer, said they returned the PPP funds they borrowed in full.
“We were part of the .3% of the money that was returned,” Curtis Hodgson, executive chairman of Legacy Housing Corp, told Consumers’ Research. “Then they changed the rules again to say there was no criminal risk; then they changed the rules again to give folks 24 weeks to spend the money rather than eight weeks.”
On July 4, President Trump signed an extension to the PPP program until August 8 with $130 billion in allocated loan dollars remaining to be lent, with Secretary Mnuchin stressing the necessity for loans to go to industries and businesses that are most in need.
“We’re open-minded, but we absolutely believe small businesses, and by the way, many big businesses in certain industries, are absolutely going to need more help,” Mnuchin said during his June 10 testimony.
Download a full list of companies receiving over $150,000 and a breakdown by State here.