OLD Media Moves

Biz Journal to appeal SBA data ruling

May 20, 2021

Posted by Chris Roush

The U.S. Small Business Administration declined to provide the Portland Business Journal detailed information about the borrowers and banks that use the agency’s flagship loan program, a decision that the publication is appealing, writes reporter Matthew Kish.

Kish reports, “‘It’s important for media companies to hold county, state and federal agencies accountable,” said Jon Wile, vice president of Content and Design at American City Business Journals. ‘Freedom of Information Act requests are critical to journalists doing investigative work and they help protect our democracy. The requests we have fought for in the past year have helped shine a light on inequities in Paycheck Protection Program distribution and the SBA’s minority-lending practices.’

“American City Business Journals was one of 11 plaintiffs in a lawsuit last year against the SBA over detailed PPP information. The SBA released the information in December. A subsequent analysis of the information showed Black and Hispanic neighborhoods had delayed access to the program.

“SBA spokespeople did not respond to repeated requests for comment about the refusal to disclose information that was previously released.

“The summary data provided to the Business Journal shows Black-owned businesses got $527 million in 7(a) loans in 2020, down 29% from $743 million in 2019. The number of loans to Black-owned businesses decreased 32% to 1,646, the fewest made since 2014.”

Read more here.

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