Skip to main content

Financial help for small business owners

Small businesses, including minority and women-owned businesses, are the cornerstone of the American economy and have been hit particularly hard during the coronavirus pandemic.

Paycheck protection program

Congress passed and amended the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to minimize the impact of the pandemic. The CARES Act includes the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) , which provides loans and debt relief options to small businesses. The funds also allow small businesses to pay their employees and meet other short-term expenses including mortgage interest, rent and utility costs.


Your business should be eligible if it meets program size standards, which include:

  • Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations
  • Veterans organizations
  • Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act
  • Individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors

Information for lenders

The Small Business Administration will delegate authority to SBA-certified lenders to process applications from small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program. Federally insured depository institutions, credit unions, and Farm Credit System institutions can also apply to be approved as lenders for the program.

Equitable access to small business credit

The Bureau is working with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to advance access to credit for minority, women-owned, and small businesses.

As small business owners and lenders work together to access the CARES Act options or other loan programs, anti-discrimination laws, such as the federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act, protect business owners from discrimination because of race, color, national origin, sex, and other protected characteristics. These protections apply to new and existing customers (including depository customers) seeking loans at financial institutions.

Warning signs of lending discrimination

Some examples of potential warning signs of lending discrimination based on race, sex, or other protected category include:

  • Refusal of available loan or workout option even though you qualify for it based on advertised requirements
  • Offers of credit or workout options with a higher rate or worse terms than the one you applied for, even though you qualify for the lower rate
  • Discouragement from applying for credit by the lender because of a protected characteristic
  • Denial of credit, but are not given a reason why or told how to find out why
  • Negative comments about race, national origin, sex, or other protected statuses

Submit a complaint

Small business owners who believe they were discriminated against based on race, sex, or other protected category can submit a lending discrimination complaint online. Through our complaint process, companies respond to complaints about consumer financial products and services.

Other federal resources