The scope of the Federal Reserve’s “Main Street” Lending Programs should be expanded to forestall further disruption and economic dislocations in commercial real estate, according to an April 22 letter sent to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chairman Jay Powell from The Real Estate Roundtable and Nareit.
- This week’s letter requests specific changes to the Fed’s Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF) and Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF), both established on April 9.
- The April 22 letter emphasizes that real estate borrowers, owners and managers now face existential challenges. The letter states, “At a time when Main Street needs credit, it cannot get it because the secondary markets that provide liquidity to Main Street lenders are clogged.”
- The Roundtable and Nareit urge specific changes to enable CRE borrowers to access the Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF) and Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF). The joint letter addresses (1) Underwriting/ Leverage Limitations/ Loan Size, (2) Distributions/ REITs (3) Loan Terms (4) Applicable Interest Rate Index and (5) Program Timing.
- Previous industry letters to the Fed on March 24 and April 14 addressed the need to broaden the range of a separate credit facility – the Term Asset Backed Securities Facility (TALF). Those letters requested that TALF eligible collateral include both outstanding (legacy) CMBS, commercial mortgage loans and newly issued collateralized loan obligations. On April 9, the Fed confirmed that the TALF would be expanded to include triple-A rated legacy non-agency CMBS and loans.
- Since then, as rental income has diminished, conditions in the commercial real estate sector have deteriorated further, causing real estate credit and capital markets to stall. Therefore, it is important for the Main Street credit facilities to help bring renewed liquidity to commercial and multifamily real estate.
- The CARES Act permits financially stressed tenants in properties financed by federally backed loans to postpone rent payments, while several states and municipalities are currently considering additional measures to afford tenants rent forbearance.
As the Treasury and Fed continue to take positive actions benefiting liquidity for the nation’s economy, the Main Street Lending Programs can be enhanced to support commercial real estate.
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