Public companies tapping small-business loans may not have met necessary certifications, Mnuchin says

Mnuchin: Anticipate ‘most, if not all of the economy’ will be open by late summer

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on reopening the economy amid the coronavirus, oil prices, and ensuring that small businesses are prioritized in the Payroll Protection Program.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday questioned whether some big companies receiving millions of dollars in government-backed loans from a program created to help small businesses have met the necessary certifications.

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"I think a lot of these big companies [it's] questionable whether they could make that certification," Mnuchin told FOX Business' Stuart Varney. "I think they should review it."

At least 75 publicly traded companies — some with market values well over $100 million — tapped the government-backed Paycheck Protection Program, receiving a combined $300 million in low-interest loans, according to a recent Associated Press analysis.

The loans were among the 4,412 approved by banks and the Small Business Administration worth $5 million or more, according to SBA data. The total amount of loans approved for at least $5 million totaled $30.9 billion — or about 9 percent of all those approved. The size of the typical loan nationally was $206,000, according to the data.

When Congress created the $349 billion program, it directed the loans at companies with fewer than 500 employees. But restaurants and hotels were granted some flexibility in the legislation — so long as they employed no more than 500 workers at any single location, they could apply for the aid.

The money can be used for payroll and other expenses, like insurance premiums, mortgages, rent or utilities through June 30. As long as 75 percent of the money goes toward keeping workers employed and maintaining salary levels, the loans, which are guaranteed by the federal government, will be fully forgiven.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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