The Federal Reserve has launched a number of facilities to supply liquidity to banks and broker-dealers, but Congress may call on the central bank to directly lend money to small and medium businesses most impacted by the novel coronavirus outbreak.
On Tuesday, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) called on Congress to set up a joint U.S. Treasury-Fed facility that would provide federally-guaranteed loans to Main Street businesses through the crisis.
“If we do not take action immediately, thousands of American businesses and millions of their employees are at enormous risk,” Warner said.
The facility would be backed by up to $1 trillion in federal financing, and would include “simple terms and underwriting requirements” that Warner hopes will have a higher uptake than loans offered by the Small Business Administration.
Warner told Yahoo Finance that he sees a need for the central bank to provide relief to smaller mom-and-pop businesses that do not get their financing from the large banks that have been the direct target of Fed actions over the past few weeks. The Fed has opened up facilities offering liquidity in money markets, commercial paper, and U.S. dollar markets, which small community banks generally do not have access to.
“How can we get liquidity to these businesses in a quick way where we don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel?” Warner told Yahoo Finance in an interview.