The Paycheck Protection Program, established by the federal relief package to help small businesses weather the financial storm caused by pandemic shutdowns, is overlooking minority owned businesses, according to Bob Rivers, the chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank.

Rivers, who co-authored an op-ed about the issue for the Boston Globe, told Jim Bruade on WGBH New’s Greater Boston Wednesday that the complicated PPP application process is putting minority owned businesses at a disadvantage.

“Unless you are a larger company that has its own law firm, an accounting firm, your own staff, you don’t have resources to figure this out, follow it, complete the applications successfully and quickly; you are going to be left behind,” he said.

“We know that minority-owned businesses are, on average, smaller [rather] than larger; we know without even looking at the data that there is no doubt that these companies, in particular, were left behind in the process,” Rivers continued.

The PPP, overseen by the Small Business Administration, was provided $349 billion in March when the CARES act was passed. Companies with no more than 500 employees are eligible for loans of up to $10 million, which are forgivable if at least 75 percent of the loan is used for payroll.

The program has been plagued with issues since it opened for applications at the beginning of the month, as lending banks received masses of applications and struggled without proper federal guidance. The SBA announced Thursday that it had run through all of the PPP funding and would no longer be taking applications. The Senate passed a bill Tuesday that included an additional $320 billion of funding for the program, with the House expected to vote on the package this Thursday.

In the op-ed, Rivers and his co-authors suggested that in order to ensure minority owned business won’t be overlooked for loans, the SBA should allocate specific amounts for minority owned business, make the money grants instead of loans and collect data on race and gender of applicants.

Despite the new funding, Rivers believes that the money in the PPP is going to go quickly.

“This program was underfunded from the beginning and remains underfunded,” he said.