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PRESENTING: How big banks decided the futures of America’s small businesses: The inside story of how $349 billion in government cash was doled out in just 12 days, leaving thousands of entrepreneurs without relief


As the second round of Payroll Protection Program funding gets underway, Main Street’s outlook is grim: JPMorgan is already telling customers to look elsewhere if they want to join the queue for the fresh round. And Bank of America told staff that it is “widely recognized that it will likely not be enough to meet the extreme need and demand.” The federal program meant to help small businesses survive the pandemic by providing loans to cover payroll, is off to another rocky start.

The PPP, by design, is a Rube Goldberg machine of economic stimulus: designed by Congress, revised by the Treasury, executed by banks, received by companies. Each of these groups have their own incentives and concerns. And in speaking with banks, lawyers, and business owners, Business Insider discovered that Washington wrote a check that Wall Street couldn’t cash.

Our finance and small business reporters and editors teamed up to parse through legal and regulatory documents, review internal memos, speak on background with numerous sources, and interview entrepreneurs and experts for the record, including:

  • Dozens of business owners from New York to Texas to Minnesota to the Bay Area, likeBrian Burton, cofounder and co-CEO of Instinct Dog Training Inc. in New York, andKB Brown, owner of Wolfpack Promotionals print shop in Minneapolis.
  • Michael Brauneis, who runs the North American Financial Services industry practice at Protiviti, a consulting firm that has been helping banks design and implement their PPP platforms.
  • Joseph Lynyak, a partner at law firm Dorsey & Whitney who specializes in regulatory compliance.
  • Jeremy Rosenblum, a partner at law firm Ballard Spahr who has been advising banks on PPP.
  • Maria Contreras-Sweet, who served as administrator of the Small Business Association under President Obama.

Here’s what we know already happened with the first round of funding, why it happened, and what it all means for the next round.

Or rounds.


Payroll Protection Program
Small Business

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