New Emergency Loan Funds for Black Businesses

A day before the U.S. House passed the HEROES Act, the Joint Center hosted an online briefing on fair and equal access to capital for Black businesses through stimulus legislation. The briefing addressed structural inequities faced by Black businesses and explored how future stimulus proposals can best help Black businesses thrive in the post-COVID-19 economy.

Panelists included:

U.S. Black Chambers President & CEO Ron Busby

Association for Enterprise Opportunity President & CEO Connie Evans

Former SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns

TV One Chairman and CEO & Radio One President Alfred Liggins

Opportunity Finance Network President & CEO Lisa Mensah

Within a few weeks, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve will roll out the Main Street Lending Program. According to Propublica, economists and experts across the political spectrum are concerned the $500,000 minimum loan amount makes the Main Street Lending Program inaccessible to small businesses and that companies won’t seek out loans if they aren’t sure they can pay back the loans.

Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) released a proposal to further prevent Black business owners from falling through the cracks when trying to access COVID-19 emergency loan funds. Their Equity in COVID-19 Recovery Act of 2020 would require daily and weekly reporting of relief dollars approved and disbursed through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Grants Program. The proposal also calls for $10 billion to be set aside for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) to support loans to underserved small businesses.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) currently tracks the loans disbursed for round two of the Paycheck Protection Program daily. As of May 16, $195 billion in loans had been distributed (of the original $310 billion allocated in round two) and the average loan size was $70,622.

For more on Congress and the COVID-19 stimulus this week, see the National Urban League’s Washington Bureau Insider.