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Fed Fires Up Emergency Lending Program Due to Pandemic

NationalMortgageProfessional.com
Mar 17, 2020
Photo credit: Getty Images/dgrilla

The Federal Reserve Board has announced that it will establish a Commercial Paper Funding Facility (CPFF) to support the flow of credit to households and businesses. Commercial paper markets directly finance a wide range of economic activity, supplying credit and funding for mortgages and auto loans, as well as liquidity to meet the operational needs of a range of companies.
 
The CPFF program is established by the Federal Reserve under the authority of Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act, with approval of the Treasury Secretary.
 
“By ensuring the smooth functioning of this market, particularly in times of strain, the Federal Reserve is providing credit that will support families, businesses and jobs across the economy,” said the statement by the Fed. “The CPFF will provide a liquidity backstop to U.S. issuers of commercial paper through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) that will purchase unsecured and asset-backed commercial paper rated A1/P1 (as of March 17, 2020) directly from eligible companies.”
 
The Treasury will provide $10 billion of credit protection to the Federal Reserve in connection with the CPFF from the Treasury's Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF). The Federal Reserve will then provide financing to the SPV under the CPFF. Its loans will be secured by all of the assets of the SPV.
 
“The commercial paper market has been under considerable strain in recent days as businesses and households face greater uncertainty in light of the coronavirus outbreak,” said the Fed in their statement. “By eliminating much of the risk that eligible issuers will not be able to repay investors by rolling over their maturing commercial paper obligations, this facility should encourage investors to once again engage in term lending in the commercial paper market. An improved commercial paper market will enhance the ability of businesses to maintain employment and investment as the nation deals with the coronavirus outbreak.
 
In an emergency meeting on Sunday, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) lowered the federal funds rate to zero to 1/4 percent in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, and launched a $700 billion quantitative easing program to further protect the nation’s economy from the impact of the virus. Sunday’s move by the Fed came just days after making their first unanimous rate cut since December of 2008, taking the fed funds rate to one to 1.25 percent to help ease with the mortgage meltdown.

 
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