Payment Protection Program leaves out minority owned businesses

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Yasmeen Collins | The Ticker

Farah Javed

Since the Payment Protection Program was created, many small businesses still await government issued loans, especially minority-owned businesses. These businesses, owned and operated by immigrants and people of color, are struggling to stay afloat in the midst of the COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, pandemic.

These communities have historically faced difficulty within the business sector. “That’s because minority-owned businesses often have weaker banking relationships than their white-owned counterparts — one legacy of the practice of redlining, or refusing to lend to people in communities of color. Research shows that black and Latino business owners are denied loans at higher rates,” according to The New York Times.

In response to these claims, the Small Business Association, as well as banks, say that the loans were given on a first-come, first-served basis. Hence, those without loans simply did not apply early enough.

This, however, is not entirely true. Since the government had given little guidelines to banks handing out the Payment Protection Program loans, they chose to work with those who had previously taken out loans first. As stated, redlining processes have prevented people of color from being able to take out loans, which in turn makes them not on the shortlist to receive loans, no matter how early they applied.

Hence, it is understandable why some business owners from minority populations believe that the government is once more being biased against them. These fears only continue to grow as they have not yet received their loans.

It is notable that the coronavirus pandemic in New York has affected Black and Hispanic communities the most. On top of this, many have still not received loans or government issued stimulus checks. New York, however, strives to combat this lack of resources and attention.

stimulus checks. New York, however, strives to combat this lack of resources and attention. “New York has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, which has had devastating effects on our small business, including farmers. We are also working with our colleagues in the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus to address the disproportionate impact this virus has had on our minority communities,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to Spectrum News. In order to help these minority businesses, people have started funds and donated the proceeds. Others have started programs to help these businesses through loan applications. In fact, rapper Sean “ Diddy” Combs started one called Our Fair Share.

Combs “announced a partnership with the National Bankers Association, the trade group representing minority-owned financial institutions. The association will connect minority-owned banks and financial technology companies to the Our Fair Share platform and enable these banks to originate PPP loans from applicants that utilize the site,” according to Black Enterprise.

Essentially, small minority-owned businesses that need a means of stimulating their businesses can use Our Fair Share’s services. These communities will be able to get loans from minority owned banks that are more inclined to provide assistance without customers having a prior loan history.

Though organizations like Combs’s do provide assistance, it is not enough to cover all minority businesses across the country. They still need money from the government in order to pay employees and pay utility or rent bills. As the coronavirus pandemic impacts the U.S. economy for the worse, the government cannot afford to keep the suffering minority-owned businesses — both financially and emotionally — from contributing to the nation’s economy.