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Amata takes part in bipartisan letter to SBA on behalf of smaller lenders

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Sources: Media release from Cong. Aumua Amata's office

Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Aumua Amata joined Rep. TJ Cox (D-California), who led the effort, and Dean of the House Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) in a letter to Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza urging the SBA to continue making improvements to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that fully include small businesses, remote communities and their lenders.

Congresswoman Amata is also welcoming visible progress, as on Wednesday, the SBA approved another lending option in American Samoa, the Territorial Bank of American Samoa, and before that the second wave of lending had included 61 successful applicants as of early in the week.

The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act—passed by Congress last month—includes $60 billion in PPP funding set aside for CDFIs, small and medium-sized banks and credit unions. It also includes $50 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, which will help small businesses that are the worst affected get the loans they need to survive this crisis.

However, many small financial institutions struggle to implement the PPP, particularly those located in remote areas. In order to help them, the members asked the SBA to take several specific steps:
•    Create clear and concise instructions for accessing SBA loan programs, especially for non-SBA lenders trying to process loans
•    Allocate at least 25% of PPP funds for institutions like community banks, credit unions, and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) of $50 billion in asset size or less
•    Release data collected from the first wave of PPP applicants to Congress so that Members of Congress may better allocate adequate amounts of funding

“I represent a remote District with challenges of distance, means, technology, and available lenders,” said Congresswoman Aumua Amata, who serves as Vice Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business. “The SBA must ensure these truly small businesses get every possible opportunity to catch this lifeline. I appreciate the immense effort to stand up a new program, and SBA’s improvement in the second round of loans. Thank you to Congressman Cox for his leadership on this important issue.”

“After the first PPP funding package became available, big businesses like national steakhouse chains vacuumed up the lion’s share of these loans. That’s simply unfair and every day since I’ve heard from Central Valley small businesses locked out of the program. The second allocation directed money to small and medium banks but that’s not enough to save our Main Street businesses,” said Rep. TJ Cox. “This is why we are calling on the SBA to make sure that these funds go to the businesses that need them most during this crisis. Small businesses are the backbone of American communities, and we need to work relentlessly and in a bipartisan way to put them first and protect our nation’s health, economic security and well-being.”
“The Paycheck Protection Program is a crucially important resource for protecting our economic health, but we must ensure that large financial institutions are not using a disproportionate share of available funding,” said Congressman Don Young. “Small businesses are pillars in our communities, both in Alaska and across the country; they need access to this program the most. I am proud to join my colleagues on this important effort to ensure that the Small Business Administration is doing everything in its power to live up to its name and putting our small businesses first.”

In the letter, the Members wrote: “To ensure PPP access to all communities and regions of the nation, we must not allow PPP funds to be used near exclusively by the largest banks. Because the largest banks often do not serve America’s smaller, rural communities, it would be a costly policy mistake to allow these lenders to soak up a disproportionate share of the funding. To ensure a robust recovery, funding must be distributed fairly and evenly with no communities left behind.”