With generous terms and at a time of unprecedented panic as the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns crippled the economy, 202,157 Illinois employers received federal Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans.
From Atlas Financial Holdings — incorporated in the Cayman Islands with its “principal executive offices” in Schaumburg — to the Joffrey Ballet to Kivvit, the public affairs firm, to Motor Werks of Barrington, Inc., all kinds of Illinois companies, museums, schools, religious-based organizations and nonprofits took out the loans.
There was little incentive not to apply, since the loans don’t have to be repaid if used to meet payrolls, retain workers and cover some overhead. The loan amounts were based on the number of employees. Employers had to certify on the PPP application that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.”
From employers unheard of to organizations in the news because of political connections, to enterprises serving the wealthy, to faith-based institutions, the PPP loans were intended to provide financial lifelines resulting in everyday workers getting paid. Congress created the PPP loans with bipartisan support as the devastating enormity of the economic crisis was becoming clear with soaring unemployment numbers.
The PPP program was envisioned as a stopgap temporary emergency measure. Now, with the economy still struggling, the path ahead is not clear.
The employers getting the free money did not have to promise to keep workers or maintain current wages once the PPP money ran out, a big criticism of the program. Another criticism was at the beginning, there was not enough outreach about PPP loans to employers and lending institutions in underserved communities.
The PPP loans are still available and applications are being accepted through Aug. 8.
Where the money went
A Chicago Sun-Times analysis of Securities and Exchange Commission documents that publicly traded companies getting the loans had to file and Treasury Department data released on Monday reveals:
Employers in relatively affluent areas in Chicago and surrounding suburbs made the most use of the PPP loans. There is no data available on where the workers kept on the job live.
For loans above $150,000 to $10 million, employers in the north and western suburbs got the most money. Outside of Chicago, Naperville was at the top followed by Schaumburg, Elk Grove Village, Rockford, Peoria, Elgin, Northbrook and Skokie.
In Chicago, ZIP code 60606, around the Loop, had a potential total of $543 million in jumbo loans — the most of any ZIP code in Illinois. That includes 16 loans of between $5 million and $10 million. The Treasury Department only gave general ranges for these loans, not specific amounts.
For loans under $150,000, the top ZIP codes in Illinois are:
- 60062, taking in…