WASHINGTON – Following calls from Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the Federal Reserve announced it was expanding the Main Street Lending Program to serve more Arizona small and medium sized businesses.
“Arizona employers need economic relief now. The Federal Reserve’s decision to strengthen the Main Street Loan Facilities is a promising next step and will help protect paychecks and good Arizona jobs,” said Sinema.
Under the CARES Act, Congress gave the Treasury Department authority to provide up to $454 billion in loans to Federal Reserve lending programs and facilities. On April 9, the Federal Reserve announced it would establish eleven funding facilities to provide stability and liquidity to the financial system, including the Main Street New Loan Facility and Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (the Facilities). The Facilities aim to support small and mid-sized businesses that were in good financial standing before the crisis; however, the programs’ terms made lending burdensome, making relief difficult to access for Arizona businesses with the greatest need.
In May, Sinema called on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to quickly make adjustments to the Main Street New Loan Facility and Main Street Expanded Loan Facility so Arizona small and mid-size businesses can get needed economic relief during the coronavirus pandemic. Sinema specifically asked for the Federal Reserve to:
- Further expand loan eligibility and include non-profits that are serving Arizonans and aiding in COVID-19 response;
- Provide greater flexibility on loan terms;
- Ensure that the Facilities are user-friendly and accessible to small community banks and credit unions.
The Federal Reserve Board listened to Sinema’s calls and recently expanded its Main Street Lending Program to allow more small and medium-sized businesses to be able to receive support. The Board lowered the minimum loan amount, raised the maximum loan limit, adjusted the principal repayment schedule to begin after two years, and extended the term to five years, providing borrowers with greater flexibility in repaying the loans.
Sinema holds weekly calls with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Arizona small businesses on which she answers questions about coronavirus relief and helps employers with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applications.
Sinema has also added a resources page to her website, www.sinema.senate.gov/corona, for Arizonans looking for the latest information on coronavirus.