April 24, 2020


Raises concerns after hearing from constituents denied PPP loans by big banks

Newton, MA – After hearing from numerous constituents denied loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Congressman Joe Kennedy III today demanded answers from a number of large banking institutions on the size and demographics of businesses that have received loans. In a letter to Bank of America, Santander, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and US Bancorp, Kennedy requested information about the average monthly payroll for companies denied loans and the demographic data for those companies.

“Our nation’s largest financial institutions cannot be allowed to hide behind profits and politics as small businesses suffer. If these banks are prioritizing large loans over small businesses that are struggling to survive, the American public has a right to know. Working Americans deserve accountability and transparency from these banks as we implement PPP.”

Last week, Congressman Kennedy and Congresswoman Joyce Beatty called on Congressional leadership to “Ban the Box” for small business owners applying for PPP loans. He has also held a series of Small Business Virtual Town Halls connecting resources and experts with local chambers of commerce in his district.

Kennedy’s full letter can be found below.

I write to express deep frustration on behalf of thousands of small business owners who have experienced enormous difficulty with your institution’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application process. Since the creation of the PPP, countless small business owners have remained in your respective queues, unable to receive any funding or even assistance when they seek it. As this program resumes, I ask that you provide Congress with information detailing the manner through which your institutions are processing these applications. 

Congress created PPP to deliver critically-needed relief for small businesses who are struggling to stay afloat and pay their hardworking employees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, millions of small business owners who submitted PPP applications immediately upon the program’s creation have described a process difficult to navigate and, thus far, nearly impossible to receive any funds through. This is particularly troubling as the program was intended to deliver immediate, emergency relief in order to prevent small businesses from shuttering permanently. Meanwhile, reports suggest publicly traded companies such as Shake Shack and Ruth Chris’ Steak House, generally much better insulated to weather economic downturns, have been approved to receive millions. 

Small business owners deserve clarity and transparency as it is apparent your institutions are not reviewing applications on a first-come, first-served basis. Many Americans with small businesses have followed your instructions in submitting their applications yet remain in limbo, unable to receive any assistance they desperately need. As the PPP program resumes, it is imperative your institutions provide them with full, fair, and timely consideration. To that end, I request information detailing the process through which these applications are being processed and a response to each of the following questions:

  1. How do you determine the order in which PPP loans are processed?
  2. How many applicants have been approved and how many have been denied?
  3. What are the racial and gender demographic breakdowns for approved PPP loans?
  4. Of those denied, please provide information regarding the reasons for denial and their average payroll and employee headcount.
  5. What is the average monthly payroll and average number of employee headcount for small businesses that have received PPP loans?
  6. How many businesses were denied because they lacked a preexisting relationship with your institution?

For many small businesses, the way your institutions process their applications will determine their future. If your institutions are unable or unwilling to deliver PPP relief as Congress intended, small business owners should be informed. I look forward to your timely response.


For Immediate Release:
April 24, 2020

Dan Black (202) 225-5931