Should PPP loan recipients and information be made public?
Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza testified on Capitol Hill about the Paycheck Protection Program and other initiatives to assist small business owners through the recovery.
Amongst plenty of other issues, the question came up about why Congress and the Government Accountability Office are not getting information on who is receiving PPP loans. Mnuchin responded that information about PPP recipients might not be made public as, in many cases, specific loan amounts are "confidential" and "proprietary information."
I don’t understand this reasoning. All information about SBA loans is public information. If you take an SBA loan for your business, the amount, terms, and if you default on it is open data. The logic is that you are utilizing a government guarantee and taxpayer money to back your loan in case of default. I have never heard or read a complaint about this information being available?
So why would granular data on the PPP program not be treated in the same way? Especially as most of this is forgiven and 100 percent guaranteed by the US Government. What is proprietary about this information?
When I counseled business owners about the pros and cons of taking a PPP loan, I advised them to prepare for their application to be public and available to their competitors and the press. If the administration gets their way, it sounds like I gave bad advice.
Do you think that PPP loan information should be made available? After all, this is your money or your great-grandkids at this point. I welcome your thoughts.