In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the US federal government distributed US$800 billion in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to small businesses to preserve employment. Since PPP funding was transmitted through private banks, the characteristics of the regional banking market may have unevenly affected the programme’s reach. This paper examines how variations in market concentration and the presence of community banks contributed to PPP disbursement in US counties. It finds that greater regional banking market concentration correlates with fewer PPP loans, but this negative relationship is mitigated by a greater presence of community banks in highly concentrated markets.
Banking Infrastructure and the Paycheck Protection Program During the Covid-19 Pandemic