OFN Testifies at House Small Business Committee Virtual Forum

Mary Scott Balys

On May 13, the House Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access held a virtual forum for their members on the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). OFN’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy Dafina Williams testified, along with representatives from the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders, the Small Business Investor Alliance, and BancFirst.

OFN shared the PPP experiences of CDFIs with the committee and emphasized the need to focus on very small businesses and those owned by women, minorities, and other underserved communities. OFN also discussed how these groups had been missed by the current PPP in addition to issues CDFIs and borrowers have faced in trying to get clear guidance from the SBA and Treasury.

Much of the hearing focused on issues with the initial implementation of PPP and suggestions for improving the program moving forward. All the witnesses noted that incomplete and constantly changing guidance from Treasury and the SBA is an ongoing issue. Specifically, the need for final guidance on the loan forgiveness process is essential for borrowers to feel comfortable using the program.

Chairman Andy Kim (D-NJ) and Representative Sharice Davids (D-KS) both asked how to get more resources to underserved businesses and asked about the effectiveness of the set aside in the most recent round of funding. They also asked about the level of responsiveness from Treasury and the SBA to concerns raised by the CDFI industry. The committee also discussed recently released reports on PPP, particularly the report from the Inspector General that found the SBA has not followed Congressional intent in their implementation of the program.

Watch a recording of the virtual forum here.

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