Fed expands scope, eligibility for Main Street Lending Program

The Federal Reserve recently expanded the Main Street Lending Program expanding the pool of businesses eligible. The minimum loan size has been lowered to $500,000 for certain loans, and increased risk sharing options are available.

From the press release…

The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday announced it is expanding the scope and eligibility for the Main Street Lending Program. As part of its broad effort to support the economy, the Federal Reserve developed the Main Street Lending Program to help credit flow to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the pandemic.

When the initial terms of Main Street were announced, the Board indicated that, because the financial needs of businesses vary widely, it was seeking feedback from the public on potential refinements. More than 2,200 letters from individuals, businesses, and nonprofits were received. In response to the public input, the Board decided to expand the loan options available to businesses, and increased the maximum size of businesses that are eligible for support under the program. The changes include:

Creating a third loan option, with increased risk sharing by lenders for borrowers with greater leverage;
Lowering the minimum loan size for certain loans to $500,000; and
Expanding the pool of businesses eligible to borrow.
Under the new loan option, lenders would retain a 15 percent share on loans that when added to existing debt do not exceed six times a borrower’s income, adjusted for interest payments, taxes, and depreciation and other appropriate adjustments. This compares to the existing loan options where lenders retain a 5 percent share on loans, but have different features. Under all of the loan options, lenders will be able to apply their industry-specific expertise and underwriting standards to best measure a borrower’s income. In total, three loan options—termed new, priority, and expanded—will be available for businesses.

For the full press release and a chart summarizing the different loan options, go to the Federal Reserve’s website.