PPP Loans Were Meant to Help Save Businesses, But Many in Communities of Color Didn’t Get Them

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Similar to other once busy thoroughfares around the Bay, International Boulevard has suffered during the pandemic. After receiving little to no support from the federal government or banks, some businesses have been forced to close.
Similar to other once busy thoroughfares around the Bay, International Boulevard has suffered during the pandemic. After receiving little to no support from the federal government or banks, some businesses have been forced to close.  (Adhiti Bandlamudi/KQED News)

On International Boulevard in East Oakland, just 5% of businesses received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans from April through August 2020. Meanwhile, in the nearby, mostly white neighborhood of Montclair, 49% of businesses received a PPP loan. Advocates and small-business owners point to factors like language barriers, a complicated application process and a legacy of banks not serving communities of color.

This kind of disparity exists all over the Bay Area, and as the region reopens, this unequal distribution of loans will have lasting impacts.

Guest: Adhiti Bandlamudi, KQED Silicon Valley reporter

This story was reported in partnership with Reveal and the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Episode transcript here.

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