The SBA released loan information for PPP borrowers under $150,000 last night. This information was held in confidence until a federal lawsuit forced the SBA to release the data. Combined with previously disclosed data, all PPP loans are now public information.
What data was released by the SBA?
The public can now see many of your loan details such as your business name, the loan amount, lender, loan date, and your demographic information (e.g. ethnicity). The SBA previously released data on loans over $150k. Now all borrowers data, including those with loans under $150k, are available on the SBA website.
What will people do with the PPP information?
News agencies (some of whom were plaintiffs in the lawsuit) hope releasing the data will create transparency. Some organizations are analyzing the data to identify outliers and investigate potential fraud. Others are using the data for political purposes such as attempting to prove the PPP program was biased toward large businesses or that money went to Trump owned companies.
An increase in junk email may be an unfortunate outcome of the public data release. Marketers can use the size of your PPP loan to estimate your business size and target your company for products and services. The information could be turned into selling lists, resulting in more spam emails and unsolicited LinkedIn requests.
What should a small business owner do about their PPP information?
You can’t do anything to stop the spread of your data – the toothpaste is out of the tube. Public scrutiny is one of the side effects of taking free taxpayer money. Your best course of action is to stay focused on business fundamentals to get you through the end of the pandemic.