La Crosse, WI— Today, Rep. Ron Kind sent a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, urging him to provide transparency during the rollout of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and ensure rural communities across Wisconsin have access to the economic support they need during this pandemic.

Under the CARES Act, emergency lending programs were established to help workers and families stay afloat. Right now, many smaller financial institutions are facing difficulties accessing these programs, leaving the small business owners and farmers who rely on these lenders without the funds they need. There are also additional concerns that big banks are being given priority for these first come first serve programs. Rep. Kind is requesting Secretary Mnuchin to provide a plan to ensure the needs of small lenders are being met and increase transparency by releasing information regarding where the loans have been administered thus far in the program.

“Over the past few weeks, I have heard from small businesses and lenders in Wisconsin who have faced difficulties accessing the systems needed to administer programs like the Paycheck Protection Program. I’m becoming increasingly concerned that funding is going to large corporations and big banks instead of the small businesses, lenders, and farms that are the backbone to Wisconsin’s rural economy,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “Leaving behind small lenders who provide critical support to rural communities across Wisconsin is unacceptable. The Treasury must release information on where these loans have been disbursed to provide transparency and accountability to taxpayers.”

Rep. Kind is also asking that steps be taken to ensure Wisconsin Small Business Administration (SBA) agents, who are working tirelessly to assist rural and local lenders, are able to fully access SBA’s processing systems and that administrative duties like password resting capabilities and account reactivation be done at the state level to remove unnecessary hurdles. According to the SBA, small businesses account for more than 99% of Wisconsin businesses and employ nearly half of all Wisconsinites.

Read the letter to Secretary Mnuchin here.


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