Hawley calls for extra PPP loan oversight to protect small businesses from 'corporate greed on Wall Street'

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Tuesday pushing for stricter oversight of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and expressed concern about corporate cronyism with regard to coronavirus relief loans.

In the letter obtained by Fox News, Hawley claimed big banks were favoring larger companies instead of helping small businesses as was intended.

"As you know, big banks are receiving a generous servicing fee by taxpayers for their role in administering this program," he wrote. "They must not take advantage of this incentive by privileging their existing clientele or those with larger loan requests at the expense of small businesses who are in urgent need of financial assistance.

"Corporate greed on Wall Street cannot be allowed to subvert a program designed to deliver much-needed relief to small businesses to help keep the lights on," Hawley continued.

He added that there have been "numerous reports" of major banks fast-tracking certain loans, instead of operating on a "first-come, first-served" basis.

MINNEAPOLIS TIGHTENS CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS WITH MOVE TO CLOSE FIELDS, PLAYGROUNDS, OTHER PUBLIC AREAS

"As you work to implement the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), I urge you to be vigilant against unfair practices by the biggest banks in the disbursal of forgivable loans," Hawley said. "To ensure that this program is fairly implemented and not exploited, it is imperative that you conduct rigorous oversight."

The Missouri Republican said smaller lenders in his state have called the approval process for the second round of relief funding "exceptionally slow" and have experienced trouble with the Small Business Association’s (SBA's) E-Tran portal.

He also requested that the Treasury Department answer three specific questions by May 11:

1. Have your agencies conducted oversight of those banks and lenders who may have violated the “first-come, first-served” standard and thereby privileged some businesses at the expense of others? If so, will you commit to making such findings public?

2. What actions do you plan to take to ensure that banks and lenders faithfully follow the “first-come, first-served” standard?

3. In the second round of funding, will these “bulk file” submissions by larger lenders still be subject to the “first-come, first-served” standard to avoid offering the biggest banks preferential access? 

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Fox News reached out to the Treasury Department, asking if it planned to address Hawley's concerns, but it did not immediately return the request for comment.