The Lender Match tool is part of the SBA’s efforts to fund minority, rural and other underserved small businesses owners before the PPP ends on June 30.
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On May 14, the Census Bureau released survey results showing that although 75 percent of American businesses had applied for assistance through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), only 40 percent of businesses had received it.Many small businesses have had trouble accessing PPP through the big banks — which largely prioritized pre-existing clients and bigger “small” businesses. But entrepreneurs in underserved communities had an especially hard time getting relief. In the early months of the pandemic closures, when they needed it most, huge numbers of minority-owned, women-owned and rural small businesses were widely ignored by big banks. Meanwhile, the SBA failed to give adequate funds to smaller asset lenders and nonprofits like Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that serve businesses in disadvantaged communities. As the dust has settled, and the sweeping inequities become more apparent, the SBA has been trying to make up for lost time with funding and programs directed at vulnerable businesses before the PPP application deadline on June 30. The SBA gave a total of $10 billion to CDFIs to loan out under the PPP. And most recently, the administration created a tool meant to connect business owners with small asset lenders (less than $10 billion in assets) such as CDFIs, Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs), Farm Credit System lenders, and Microlenders. The SBA tool, called Lender Match, will reportedly match borrowers with lenders within two days, and it will help borrowers apply for PPP as well as other SBA loan programs like 7(a), 504, Microloans and Community Advantage loans — which currently fall under the SBA’s debt relief program. “The SBA is focused on assisting eligible borrowers in underserved and disadvantaged communities and connecting them with forgivable PPP loans, especially before the June 30, 2020, application deadline,” said SBA administrator Jovita Carranza in a press release. “As communities begin to carefully reopen across the country, there are still many more opportunities to provide this assistance to businesses who have yet to access these forgivable loans.”Related: Minority-Owned Small Businesses Aren’t Getting Stimulus Loans. Could That Finally Change?