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Fed’s Lifeline to Main Street Flops With 99.8% of Cash Untapped

  • Just $1.4 billion of loans have been issued amid onerous terms
  • Small take-up could stall economic recovery, support for jobs
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Photographer: Kim Raff/Bloomberg

It was billed as a lifeline for America’s middle-market companies seeking cash to get through the pandemic. Yet more than two months since its launch, the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program isn’t living up to expectations as few banks are willing to provide the loans.

Some of the nation’s biggest lenders have demanded such crushing terms that discussions have stalled from the get-go, while other banks have decided not to participate at all. That’s meant the take-up for the $600 billion program is just 0.2%, threatening to undercut the economic recovery and efforts to protect jobs.