December 29, 2020 12:30 PM, EST

Fed Extends Main Street Program to Process Last Submitted Loans

The Federal Reserve building stands in Washington. (Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg News)The Federal Reserve building stands in Washington. (Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg News)

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The Federal Reserve has delayed the termination of the Main Street Lending Program to Jan. 8, from Dec. 31, to finish processing loans submitted by a Dec. 14 deadline to tap its funds.

The extension was approved by the secretary of the treasury, the Fed said in a statement Dec. 29.

The Treasury Department provoked controversy in November when it ordered the Fed to close Main Street and some other emergency pandemic lending programs by Dec. 31. Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the order was driven by lawmakers’ intent when they crafted the Cares Act in March, legislation that provided taxpayer money to support the programs. The Fed had asked that they all be extended into 2021.

Main Street has struggled to live up to its initial promise, although borrowing picked up somewhat as the deadline approached and stood at $14.5 billion as of Dec. 23. The program was designed to provide as much as $600 billion in credit to midsize U.S. companies damaged by COVID-19.

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