Just as Congress approved another coronavirus relief package, lending experts fear that minority and women-owned businesses will be left out, CBS News reports.

The federal government disbursed millions of dollars to American families and businesses to help stabilize the economy, but the $349 billion relief fund was quickly absorbed by other businesses, which left many Black business owners in the dark. 


Ashley Harrington, director of federal advocacy and senior council for the Center for Responsible Lending, said nearly 95% of Black-owned businesses are being shut out of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). 

"Based on how the program is structured, we estimate that upwards of 90% of businesses owned by people of color have been, or will likely be, shut out of the Paycheck Protection Program," Harrington said.


"Roughly 95% of Black-owned businesses, 91% of Latino-owned businesses, 91% of Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander-owned businesses, and 75% of Asian-owned businesses stand close to no chance of receiving a PPP loan through a mainstream bank or credit union," reported the Center for Responsible Lending, an organization geared toward eliminating unethical lending practices.

CBS News reports an obstacle for businesses operated by people of color is their bank. Harrington says minority businesses are less likely to have a relationship with commercial banks which have favored clients with previously established accounts. 

"[If] participating banks are requiring that applicants have a credit relationship — to already have some type of loan out — that already cuts many of these businesses out," she said.

In Washington, D.C., the owners of historic restaurant Ben's Chili Bowl said their application was denied after they applied at a local family-owned bank. The restaurant has served countless celebrities and politicians, including former President Barack Obama, over the years.

ABC News reports that nearly 80% of Ben's Chili Bowl's business has evaporated due to the novel virus.

Additionally, commercial banks like Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America have prioritized businesses seeking larger loans in order to increase their profitability, CBS News reported. This has caused smaller businesses with fewer employees to be overlooked. According to CBS News, minority and women-owned businesses have on average 30% fewer employees compared to white or male-owned businesses.

A Virginia realtor told CBS News her midsize bank didn't make the PPP loan application available until April 16, the day the funds were depleted. Furthermore, she was excluded from applying elsewhere as other banks required a previously established account.

"I wasn't even able to apply and be in a position to be denied. I was essentially denied from the onset because I had been banking with the wrong bank," she told CBS MoneyWatch. 

The realtor added people "who weren't previously banking with an SBA-approved lender were put at a great disadvantage because you had to find someone willing to take on a new business customer — it affected who received the money."

A bakery owner in Maryland said she was denied a $23,000 loan to help sustain her seven-employee business. The Black, female business owner said she was disappointed but not surprised. 

If you are black-owned business looking for funding at this time, check out Blavity Inc.'s small biz database to find the loans and grants your business can quality for.