PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — More than a third of federal relief funds earmarked for Rhode Island businesses went to fewer than 2% of borrowers, according to a Target 12 analysis of newly released data.
The U.S. Small Business Administration on Tuesday released its most detailed account yet of the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which was designed to keep small businesses alive during the pandemic.
In Rhode Island, nearly $2 billion was earmarked for 17,875 borrowers, ranging from a high of $9 million for Coastal Medical Inc. to a low of $100 for Susan M. Vartian, a sole proprietor in Providence.
Looked at more closely, the federal program heavily favored a small group of the businesses seeking relief, granting more than half of the nearly $2 billion to fewer than 5% of the borrowers.
The data was released after a federal judge ruled against the SBA’s request to keep the information confidential. The second tranche of data comes roughly five months after the federal agency released a partial list, including borrowers who received loans over $150,000. The amounts were provided in ranges.
Yet the new data, while much more detailed with businesses names and specific amounts, doesn’t appear to be complete. The program was designed to save jobs, but some companies either didn’t report job numbers or the SBA failed to provided that information. In other cases, business addresses were listed in locations outside of Rhode Island, such as Dorchester — a neighborhood of Boston.
Additionally, the SBA sometimes approved loans, but businesses either declined or never collected the money, which isn’t reflected in the data.
Target 12 is providing a full list of the loans and borrowers from Rhode Island, broken down into two groups: loans over $150,000 and loans under $150,000.
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