The Treasury Department has made it easier for borrowers with criminal records to access Paycheck Protection Program loans, the Small Business Administration announced on Friday.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks at a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship … [+]
Photo by Al-Drago-Pool/Getty Images
Applicants who were convicted of a non-financial felony within the last five years were previously barred from applying for a loan from the coronavirus relief initiative.
The new rule reduces the look-back period from five years to one year, but still excludes business owners who are currently on probation or parole.
The period remains five years for felonies involving fraud, bribery, embezzlement, or a false statement in a loan application, the SBA said.
As of June 6, more than $511 billion in PPP loans had been distributed to about 4.5 million small businesses; more than $130 billion in loan money is still available.
Read the full rule change here.
The PPP was criticized when it was first enacted in early March for doling out money to large public companies when the program was meant to keep mom-and-pop shops from folding. A number of companies, including Shake Shack and Ruth’s Hospitality Group, ended up returning their loans after public outrage. Though Democrats are pushing for the Treasury Department to release the names of the companies who received PPP funding, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin balked at the idea earlier this week.
The rule change comes as President Donald Trump faces criticism for his aggressive response to Black Lives Matter protests following George Floyd’s death. Trump amplified an unfounded conspiracy that a 75-year-old Buffalo man shoved by police officers was an Antifa agitator and he is also being sued by the ACLU over the use of gas to clear out peaceful protesters near the White House before he walked to a nearby church for a photo-op. But in recent days he has pointed to his 2018 signing of the First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, as evidence that he has helped the black community.