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Paycheck Protection Program statistics
Small businesses may have gotten the highest number of loans — but most money went to big firms.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is an emergency loan program designed to give small business funds to keep staff paid and the lights on. It was hastily thrown together as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March. And despite running into more of a few stumbling blocks — like running out of funds two weeks in — it's been the most popular business loan option during the coronavirus outbreak.
As of June 30, 2020, when the program was slated to end, the Small Business Administration (SBA) had approved PPP funding for 5 million small businesses. But who got the money? PPP funding mostly went to businesses in industries and states that were hit the hardest by the COVID-19.
And while the vast majority of PPP applicants declined to give their demographic information, those that chose to were overwhelmingly white, male and had never served time in the military.
How much did small businesses receive through the PPP?
Most PPP loans were on the smaller end. The average loan size was around $107,000 and close to 87% were under $150,000. Only 1.7% of borrowers got a loan over $1 million — and 0.1% borrowed over $5 million.
$50,000 and under
$50,001 – $100,000
$100,001 – $150,000
$150,001 – $350,000
$350,000 – $1 million
$1.01 million – $2 million
$2.01 million – $5 million
This shows that the majority of businesses that received PPP loans really were small businesses. PPP loans are based on your business's payroll costs — you can borrow 2.5 times your monthly average payroll cost. A high number of small loans means that those businesses likely had a low number of employees.
But when you look at where most of the money went, it tells another story. Close to 73% of PPP funding went to loans over $150,000. That means 13.5% of businesses received close to three quarters of the funds. So, yes, most PPP loans went to small businesses. But most of the money went to big-time borrowers.
Which states got the most PPP loans?
California received the highest number of loans, with some 581,125 businesses funded by the PPP. Florida followed with 393,016 businesses that received PPP loans. Texas came in third with 389,387 businesses funded and New York pulled in fourth with 323,900 PPP loans.
While US territories are eligible for PPP funding, they consistently ranked at the bottom of the list. American Samoa received the fewest PPP loans, with only 223 businesses approved. Of the 50 US states, Alaska received the fewest loans.
District of Columbia
Northern Mariana Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands
That Texas, California and New York are at the top is no surprise, given the size of their economies. And the East Coast is where the virus has concentrated early — and where states were likely to have tighter stay-at-home orders in March.
Most of these states are also home to large cities, where businesses have been hit particularly hard. Alaska, on the other hand, has a smaller population and wasn't hit by the virus until later than most of the lower 48.
Which industries have the most approved PPP applications?
Businesses in the professional, scientific and technical services industry received the highest number of PPP loans — close to 640,000. This was followed by businesses that provide other services — not including administration — and those in the healthcare and social assistance industry.
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Other Services except Public Administration
Health Care and Social Assistance
Accommodation and Food Services
Real Estate, Rental and Leasing
Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services
This should come as no surprise — many of these industries were forced to close due to government shutdowns because they're difficult to move online. When you compare it to how much money other industries received, there's little difference. Until you move further down the list, that is.
This is likely because the size of businesses in industries like retail are often smaller than, say, wholesale and transportation companies. The smaller businesses are eligible for lower loan amounts due to size — and compensation for wages is capped at the equivalent of a $100,000 annual salary per employee. Which means even very successful small businesses with well-paid employees top out at a lower amount than larger businesses.
How racially diverse were PPP recipients?
The diversity among PPP applicants is difficult to determine. Close to 90% of applicants chose not to disclose their ethnicity, despite the SBA giving them the option.
That choice could result from applicants wishing to keep that information private. But it could also be that the SBA provided identity categories that were inconsistent with other government agencies — and in some cases, offensive.
For example, it used the term “Eskimo” — an outdated term with a problematic history — as opposed to “Alaska Native.” It also erroneously offers “Puerto Rican” as an ethnicity, despite being a nationality.
Based on the 10% that did select an ethnicity, the vast majority of PPP loans went to white-owned businesses — a whopping 8.31%. The closest runner-up was business owners who identified as Asian, receiving 1.17% of PPP loans. Hispanic-owned businesses ranked next, which received 0.81% of PPP loans. And Black-owned businesses got 0.32% of PPP funding.
What was the gender distribution of Paycheck Protection Program loans?
Some 78% of business owners didn't disclose their gender. But of those that did identify their gender, businesses owned by men received more funding than women-owned enterprises.
Number of loans received by gender
Of those that responded, male-owned businesses received around 3.4 times the number of loans as their female counterparts. Businesses owned by men got around 842,000 PPP loans, while those owned by women only received around 248,000 PPP loans. But this doesn't necessarily mean more men than women received PPP funding: Nearly 3.8 million business owners declined to select a gender.
Average loan amount received by gender
The gender gap is more apparent when we look at loan size. The median loan size for women-owned businesses was only about two thirds the size of those owned by men. And businesses owned by men received $20.7 billion more in funding than those owned by women.
Since the vast majority of borrowers didn't select their gender, these numbers explain very little. But the gap in gender for those who reported gender doesn't reflect the number of women-owned businesses in the country. Some 42% of small businesses are owned by women, according to a 2019 American Express survey.
What was the distribution of PPP loans among veterans vs. nonveterans?
Like with other demographic groups, some 85% of borrowers declined to give their veteran status. But business owners that reported themselves as veterans made up a tiny fraction of the number of PPP loans and PPP funding.
Number of loans received by veteran status
Only around 34,000 out of 4.9 million PPP loans were issued to veteran-owned businesses. That's less than 0.01%.
Average loan amount received by veteran status
An even smaller percentage of funding went to veteran-owned businesses. They received about of the $1.2 billion of the $521.5 billion — which works out to slightly over 0.002%.
Again, these numbers don't tell us much about what percentage of veteran-owned businesses received PPP funding. But it makes sense that the numbers are so low. Only around 10% of all US businesses are owned by veterans, according to an SBA survey released in 2017.
Which lenders issued the most PPP loans?
The vast majority of SBA loans came from banks — and big ones too. While 82.4% of lenders had less than $1 billion in assets, 44% of loans came from lenders with more than $10 billion in assets, which are likely banks. Banks were followed by credit unions and small-business lending companies.
Top 10 PPP lenders by number of loans issued
Big national banks in particular, like JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Truist — formerly SunTrust and BB&T — dominated the top of the list when it comes to the number of loans issued. And there isn't much difference when you look at the total amount funded.
JPMorgan Chase Bank
Bank of America
Wells Fargo Bank
This is likely because banks were simply more prepared to offer PPP funding. The SBA started issuing PPP loans through lenders that it already had a lending relationship with. And it took a while for other types of lenders to catch up. Having more assets available than other types of lenders also likely helped them to make the most PPP loans.
Why didn't some small businesses apply for the PPP?
Most small businesses have applied for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program, according to a survey by the Harvard Business School. In fact, only about 6.6% of business owners surveyed said they weren’t applying for a PPP loan.
The most common reasons were that they didn’t need the funds or preferred non-debt types of financing, like grants. Only 10% of those that didn’t apply were concerned about the turnaround time.
Don’t need any extra cash
Prefer other non-debt assistance
I don’t think I qualify
I don’t trust the government to forgive the loan
It’s a hassle
COVID-19 will last too long to repay
I don’t trust the bank to forgive the loan
I won’t receive money in time
These answers reflect the Paycheck Protection Program's poorly executed rollout. The SBA changed interest rates twice, revised the application at the last minute and still hasn’t released full guidance for lenders on how to process applications and forgiveness.
Many banks expressed concerns about the program and initially only offered funding to current business customers. Add to this the fact that the program ran out of funds less than two weeks after its launch, and it’s easy to see why lenders weren’t far off in their apprehension.
While more PPP loans went to small businesses, the vast majority of the funds went to large companies. And we don't have enough significant data to understand the demographics of approved business owners. But it appears that minorities, women and veteran-owned businesses didn't receive funding in proportion to the percentage of businesses they represent in the US.
The PPP is accepting applications until August 8, 2020. And it's likely the program will be extended as part of a new stimulus package. So we can expect these numbers to change.
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