Paycheck Protection Program approving smaller loans this time around

Indiana lenders secured approval for 31,757 Paycheck Protection Program loans totaling $2.1 billion last week, an indication that demand remains high for the federal small-business relief program.

The PPP offers forgivable loans to help keep small businesses afloat amid COVID-19 economic disruptions. An earlier phase of the program drew criticism because some companies secured multimillion-dollar loans, which critics said was not in keeping with the program’s intent.

The PPP program is reaching more smaller borrowers this time around, in Indiana and nationwide, according to an update provided Friday by the U.S. Small Business Administration, which is overseeing it.

The loan program began accepting applications April 3 with an initial funding pool of $349 billion. That funding ran out in 13 days. After Congress agreed to fund the program with an additional $310 billion, the PPP opened a second application period April 27.

The SBA numbers show that, in the first five days of round two, lenders  approved 2.2 million PPP loans worth a combined $175.7 billion. The average loan size was $79,000.

In contrast, during the first round of funding lenders approved 1.7 million PPP loans worth a combined $342.3 billion. The average loan size was $206,000.

In Indiana, lenders approved 35,990 loans worth a combined $7.5 billion in the first round of funding. That figure included three large loans awarded to publicly traded Indiana-based companies: Evansville-based Escalade ($5.6 million), Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corp. ($4.8 million) and Terre Haute-based coal-mining company Hallador Energy ($10 million).

After an uproar broke out over public companies securing large loans, the federal government revised its rules and  put pressure on those firms to return loans. Escalade is the only Indiana public company to do so.

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One thought on “Paycheck Protection Program approving smaller loans this time around

  1. “Average” loan size is meaningless in figuring out whether small companies were helped much. Median loan size discounts the impact of a few big loans and would tell us about the center of the distribution curve.


    Here’s some simple math. If there are 99 loans of $111,111 and one loan of $10 million, that’s a total of $20 million, or an average of $300,000, nearly three times the median. The average “supports” an argument that “too much” went to the big enterprise…even though 99 other businesses got the help they asked for.


    The real story is that these loans are only part of a solution for businesses that have no work fir staff because they have no customers and no revenue.