The Federal Reserve yesterday announced the establishment of $2.3 trillion in new credit lending facilities in an effort to restore liquidity and steady economic shocks from the Covid-19 pandemic. These actions include the expansion of its Term Asset Lending Facility (TALF) to include AAA-rated commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) and commercial mortgages as eligible collateral. (Fed news release and TALF term sheet, April 9)
- The Fed’s Term Asset Lending Facility – previously used during the 2008 financial crisis and relaunched on March 23 – will now accommodate non-agency CMBS issued before March 23, 2020; any issuance after that date is ineligible. All collateral must also be AAA-rated and located in the U.S or its territories. The TALF will support up to $100 billion in credit, which is backed by $10 billion in credit protection from the Treasury Department. (TALF term sheet)
- Under the TALF, static collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) are also eligible collateral, yet CMBS securities related to single-asset single-borrower (SASB) and commercial real estate collateralized loan obligations (CRE CLOs) are not eligible at this time.
- The terms and conditions for commercial mortgages to be included as eligible collateral in the TALF have yet to be announced. (TALF term sheet, April 9)
- While the Fed’s recent actions are welcome, an industry coalition, including The Roundtable, continues to advocate for the inclusion of CRE collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) and Single Asset, Single Borrower (SASB) CMBS in the TALF. (Joint Industry letter, March 24)
- The Federal Reserve also announced $600 billion for purchasing loans in two new “Main Street” facilities. The Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF) and the Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF), which will purchase 95% participations in new 4-year loans to businesses that have up to 10,000 employees or up $2.5 billion in 2019 annual revenue. Borrowers with more than 10,000 employees but less than $2.5 billion in 2019 revenue may potentially qualify.
- The Fed’s new credit facilities also include $500 billion for short-term municipal bonds and additional funding for the central bank’s purchases of larger investment grade businesses and capital markets securities.
- Fed Chair Jay Powell commented on yesterday’s actions during a webinar. “Many of the programs we are undertaking to support the flow of credit rely on emergency lending powers that are available only in very unusual circumstances—such as those we find ourselves in today—and only with the consent of the Secretary of the Treasury.” He added, “I would stress that these are lending powers, not spending powers. We will continue to use these powers forcefully, proactively, and aggressively until we are confident that we are solidly on the road to recovery.”
- During Q&A after his remarks, Chairman Powell acknowledged severe liquidity concerns faced by mortgage servicers as the pandemic has resulted in widespread forbearance on mortgage payments. Powell referred to the mortgage market as "at the very center of our economy" and stated, "We're watching carefully the situation with the mortgage servicers and I will just tell you that we certainly have our eyes on that as a key market." (S&P Global, April 9)
- On April 4, a broad coalition financial industry and affordable housing advocates, including The Roundtable, urged government regulators to provide a source of liquidity to mortgage servicers in need of additional capacity to support homeowners and renters impacted by COVID-19. (Coalition mortgage servicers letter)
- While this week’s actions could provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to support the economy, the Treasury and the Fed have not yet committed the full $454 billion allocated for credit support to lending facilities under the recently-enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). Therefore, more loan programs or an expansion of these now existing loan programs could be forthcoming. (Roundtable Weekly, March 27).
- This week’s massive Fed intervention also includes the creation a Paycheck Protection Program Lending Facility (PPPLF) to support the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – established under the CARES Act. This facility will extend credit to eligible financial institutions that originate PPP loans to small businesses, taking the loans as collateral at face value. (See story below on The Roundtable’s 8-point reform plan for the PPP).
- Yesterday’s actions by the Fed recognize that businesses vary widely in their financing needs – and input from lenders, borrowers, and other stakeholders until April 16 is welcome through a Federal Reserve feedback form.
The Fed’s response to the pandemic is the focus of an April 8 Chicago Economic Club discussion moderated by Roundtable Chair Debra Cafaro (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ventas, Inc.) with Charles Evans, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. (Watch interview on Youtube)
As part of the rapidly evolving developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Real Estate Roundtable continues to be proactive on all policy fronts in Washington to provide insight and recommendations to lawmakers and regulators. The Roundtable depends on the input and expertise of its dedicated members, including those serving – now remotely – on the organization’s Real Estate Capital Policy Advisory Committee (RECPAC).# # #