The Federal Reserve on Thursday released long-awaited details regarding its Main Street business lending program and several other initiatives it is undertaking to backstop the reeling U.S. economy.
Under provisions outlined for the first time, the loans would be geared toward businesses with up to 10,000 employees and $2.5 billion in revenues for 2019. The Fed said the programs would total up to $2.3 trillion and include the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and other measures.
The Main Street Lending Program aims to enhance support for small and mid-sized businesses that were in good financial standing before the crisis by offering 4-year loans to companies employing up to 10,000 workers or with revenues of less than $2.5 billion. Principal and interest payments will be deferred for one year. Eligible banks may originate new Main Street loans or use Main Street loans to increase the size of existing loans to businesses. Banks will retain a 5 percent share, selling the remaining 95 percent to the Main Street facility, which will purchase up to $600 billion of loans. Firms seeking Main Street loans must commit to make reasonable efforts to maintain payroll and retain workers. Borrowers must also follow compensation, stock repurchase, and dividend restrictions that apply to direct loan programs under the CARES Act. Firms that have taken advantage of the PPP may also take out Main Street loans.
The Main Street loans would be a minimum of $1 million and a maximum of either $25 million or an amount that “when added to the Eligible Borrower’s existing outstanding and committed but undrawn debt, does not exceed four times the Eligible Borrower’s 2019 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization,” whatever is less, according to a Fed release.
Terms would see an interest rate equal to the Fed’s Secure Overnight Financing Rate, currently 0.01 percent, plus 250-400 basis points with a four-year maturity.
A special-purpose vehicle that Fed created jointly with the Treasury Department will purchase 95 percent of the loan while the financing institution would hold the other 5 percent.
“Our country’s highest priority must be to address this public health crisis, providing care for the ill and limiting the further spread of the virus,” said Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome H. Powell. “The Fed’s role is to provide as much relief and stability as we can during this period of constrained economic activity, and our actions today will help ensure that the eventual recovery is as vigorous as possible.”