Massive inequity found in distribution of PPP loans across New York: report

Businesses in New York City on first day of phase two re-opening following outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
A worker unloads boxes of merchandise at a UNIQLO store in lower Manhattan on the first day of the phase two re-opening of businesses following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., June 22, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Loans provided through the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) saved nearly 1.4 million jobs across New York City. But an analysis of federal government data shows great disparities in where the financial aid was distributed.

Renthop released on Tuesday a report analyzing the latest loan-level data set on the PPP that the federal Small Business Administration released on July 6 regarding the 4.9 million PPP loans provided through the program across the U.S.

PPP was enacted in April to curb massive job losses among businesses with 500 or fewer employees during the economic downturn connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. In New York City alone, companies received more than 147,000 loans to secure their payroll and retain their employees.

But Renthop’s review of the SBA data on PPP showed that “PPP funds did not assist all neighborhoods equally.” Higher income neighborhoods such as Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Financial District received a disproportionately higher number of PPP loans than middle- or working-class neighborhoods such as Flushing, Queens or Bath Beach, Brooklyn.

Of the 1,782 businesses in Greenpoint that qualified for PPP loans, the report found that 78.2% of them (1,394) received the financial help they sought. Meanwhile, in Flushing, just 38.3% (913) of the 2,381 qualified businesses were provided with PPP help. 

The bulk of all PPP loans distributed in New York went to businesses in seven Midtown Manhattan neighborhoods — home to many businesses serving the professional, scientific and technical services fields that employ hundreds of thousands of people.

Businesses located in the 10001, 10016, 10017, 10018, 10019, 10022 and 10036 ZIP codes received a combined 24,901 PPP loans, protecting approximately 320,467 workers in the process.

Those seven Manhattan ZIP codes received nearly three times as many loans, which protected four times as many workers, than the entire Bronx, which received a combined 9,576 PPP loans for 79,346 workers. 


Quantity of the loans in a geographic area did not diminish their overall quality, according to Renthop.

Midtown Manhattan’s 10001 ZIP code received the most PPP loans in New York City, and nearly a third of applicants (31%) received loans in excess of $150,000. Likewise, in downtown Bowling Green, more than 40% of all PPP loans were also $150,000 or higher.

The business fields in New York City that received the most PPP help included professional, scientific and technological services; retail trade; health care; construction; and other miscellaneous services not provided by public administration.

Read the full report online at renthop.com.