FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump signs the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act financial response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. April 24, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal authorities administering business payroll loans as part of U.S. coronavirus relief efforts on Friday eased rules prohibiting lending to business owners with criminal records, allowing some with no convictions in the past year to access funds.

The U.S. Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration said the look-back period for non-financial felony convictions has been reduced to one year from five years. The prohibition threshold for business owners with felonies involving fraud, bribery, embezzlement and similar offenses remains five years, they said.

The change goes further than what U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had suggested on Wednesday. He said the period for considering felony records would be reduced to three years.

The Paycheck Protection Program, part of a historic fiscal package worth nearly $3 trillion passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump to deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, offers businesses loans that can be partially forgiven if used for employee wages.

The Treasury Department and the SBA said the decision was made in the interest of criminal justice reform.

Reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Will Dunham

You May Also Like

Here’s what’s at stake as St. Louis takes the NFL to court over the Rams’ relocation

Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald #99 leads the defense onto…

Chinese business database Qichacha passes Beijing’s data export test

Chinese business database Qichacha said it passed a data export security assessment…

As new Covid vaccines near U.S. debut, here’s what you need to know about the shots

Pavlo Gonchar | LightRocket | Getty Images Help is on the way.…

India’s third wave of Covid infections is expected to blunt growth in the near term

Covid lab technicians in India on Friday Jan. 7, 2022. Bloomberg |…