The U.S. Small Business Association on Monday released some details on the recipients of the Paycheck Protection Program, the $659 billion program for businesses affected by the coronavirus. Applications for the program have been extended until Aug. 8. Here are a few things to know about the Oklahoma data released so far:
The Data Is Incomplete
Federal officials initially resisted releasing any details about the PPP loans, but finally relented on Monday. In Oklahoma, more than 64,200 companies, nonprofits, partnerships and churches received PPP loans, according to the data.
The Small Business Administration provided recipient names for more than 6,800 loans of more than $150,000 in Oklahoma. Another 57,400 recipients received PPP loans of less than $150,000, but the SBA withheld those names, citing business confidentiality. About $5.4 billion in PPP loans were claimed by Oklahoma companies.
Exact loan amounts were only disclosed for the loans under $150,000. For higher loans, SBA instead provided five ranges of loan amounts: $150,000 to $350,000; $350,000 to $1 million; $1 million to $2 million; $2 million to $5 million; and $5 million to 10 million.
Oklahoma Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request for detailed PPP data on April 20. SBA instead provided aggregate data for the state and closed the request. Other news media got the same response, and a consortium of large media organizations sued the SBA in May. That lawsuit remains pending even as the SBA released some PPP data on Monday.
At least 1,178 lawsuits were filed since Gov. Kevin Stitt declared a statewide health emergency on April 2.
Overall, Oklahoma companies reported they were able to retain more than 620,000 jobs with the PPP assistance. Companies getting PPP loans of more than $150,000 in Oklahoma said they saved more than 355,000 jobs under the program. Among the top industries with jobs saved in that category were restaurants, skilled-nursing facilities, oil and gas operations, new car dealers and religious organizations. Businesses getting loans under $150,000 said they were able to retain 265,000 jobs.
Nonprofits, Religious Groups Get Loans
More than 450 nonprofits got PPP loans of more than $150,000, including hundreds of churches. Also getting loans in the nonprofit category were charter schools, private schools, electric cooperatives, museums, park trusts and social services organizations. Another 2,200 nonprofits received PPP loans of less than $150,000. (Oklahoma Watch, as a nonprofit, applied for and received a PPP loan for $92,200. The loan was issued April 20 and has an interest rate of 1%.)
Very Little Demographic Information Was Collected
SBA’s largest loan programs benefit small and minority-owned businesses, but the agency was lax on collecting demographic information PPP loans. SBA said it is working to collect more information about PPP borrowers, but about 75% of all PPP loans nationwide did not include demographic information. Most Oklahoma applicants did not include demographic information about their businesses, including if it was female-owned, veteran-owned or minority-owned.
Out of the state’s PPP loans above $150,000, almost 81% of recipients did not answer a question about race and ethnicity. About 66% left the gender question blank, while 79% did not answer a question about veteran status. The shares of non-responses to demographic questions were similar for loans under $150,000.
Oklahoma is on its third epidemiologist since the state began responding to COVID-19.
Local Banks Lead the Way
Local and regional banks made by far the largest number of PPP loans above $150,000, according to the SBA data. BancFirst led the way, with more than 950 loans. Next was Arvest Bank (483), Bank of Oklahoma (354), MidFirst Bank (269) and First United Bank and Trust Co. (243). Those five banks accounted for one-third of the PPP loans above $150,000. The same five banks accounted for one-third of the PPP loans in the loans of less than $150,000.
The PPP Loans are Forgivable
Businesses apply for PPP loans through a lender, and the loans themselves are guaranteed by the SBA. Applicants have to self-certify that they are eligible and have an economic need for the loan. The PPP data doesn’t include about $30 billion in canceled loans, such as several controversial ones made to Fortune 500 companies in the early days of the program. Businesses can apply to their lender to forgive the PPP loan if they can show they met certain payroll and employment retention criteria. Federal officials said almost $132 billion remains available under the PPP program.
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