In late 2020, the Small Business Administration released public data about Paycheck Protection Program borrowers—specifically, the borrowers’ names, addresses, exact loan amounts and who their PPP lenders were. This was done by court order following lawsuits brought by media organizations seeking the data.
Bremer Bank did not publicly disclose the data and played no role in the court decision. Our commitment to protect your privacy is paramount, and we follow all applicable laws and regulations.
Unfortunately, we have heard that some third-party businesses are using information from the court-ordered data release to market themselves to PPP customers. These communications may reference our bank’s name and may even imply that we have some kind of relationship. You should be aware that we will communicate directly with you about your PPP loan and the forgiveness process. If you have any doubt, please call us directly.
As always, our commitment to cultivating thriving communities remain unchanged. We are here to be partner to you and your business.
Please refer to the below information from the American Bankers Association for more detail.
On November 5, 2020 a federal judge ordered the Small Business Administration (SBA) to release the names, addresses and precise loan amounts for all Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan recipients and all COVID-19-related Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) recipients. The judge found that SBA’s claimed exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act do not cover the PPP data sought by major news organizations. The SBA didn't appeal the ruling and publicly released this information.
Banks that issued PPP loans played no role in the decision to release this information.
Borrowers and lenders should be prepared to review the SBA loan disclosures to ensure accuracy. Contact SBA if the information they provided is inaccurate.
Multiple news organizations have been waiting to review this data. Expect both national and local media outlets to report on any data that suggest fraud. Examples could include multiple loans linked to the same address, business, or individual. They will also be interested in any borrower that appears ineligible for a PPP loan based on total employment and other factors.
Given the significant taxpayer funds utilized by these SBA programs, the federal government's disclosure of loan-by-loan details is not unexpected or unprecedented.
A lot of PPP loan data had already been made public. Earlier in 2020, at the request of Congress, the media and the public, SBA released less specific information. For loans totaling $150,000 and higher, SBA released the names and addresses of borrowers but provided a range for loan totals; for smaller loans, it released the exact amount and name of the lender but not the identity of the borrower.
We have heard that some third-party businesses are using the publicly released data to solicit business from PPP borrowers, specifically referencing the name of the lending institution. Some of these businesses are not disclosing that they are unaffiliated with the PPP lender, and others are implying a business relationship where none exists.
PPP borrowers are encouraged to consult directly with their financial advisors, attorneys or lenders about their PPP loan and the forgiveness process. Borrowers should be very wary of responding to unsolicited communications or sharing information about their PPP loan with businesses or individuals not affiliated with their bank.
This article was originally published December 3, 2020.