WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday that more than 3,000 lenders were participating in a new $ 349 billion coronavirus small business loan program, and that the Federal Reserve and the Treasury were trying to set up facilities to support “Main Street” and municipal borrowers.
“If you can’t get the loan today or tomorrow, don’t worry there will be money,” Mnuchin told Fox Business Network, referring to small business loans. “If we run out of money, we’ll come back and get more.
“There is tremendous demand,” he said. “This is the third day that this program is operational.”
Mnuchin said the initial difficulties in launching the small business lending program were due to banks being “overwhelmed” with demand for loans.
Mnuchin said the small business loans could be considered grants and aimed to support about half of the U.S. workforce for about eight weeks during coronavirus shutdowns and quarantines.
The Treasury and the Fed are hoping the Main Street lending facilities will be “up and running quickly,” he said. This program will tap a $ 454 billion pool of treasury capital to support Fed loans to small and medium businesses with up to 10,000 employees.
The same pool of capital will also support a Fed facility to support municipal bond markets which have largely seized up, preventing cities, states, counties, school districts and hospital groups from raising funds with new bond issues. ‘obligations.
The Treasury will pursue $ 46 billion in direct loans to airlines and national security-related companies under the $ 2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue bill passed in late March.
Discussions on the next phase of the coronavirus economic stimulus have started, but Mnuchin said his top priority was to quickly deploy existing funds to the economy.
“We have $ 6 trillion to invest in the economy, we are meeting with all the airline advisers this week, we are working on it very quickly,” Mnuchin told Fox Business. “So I can assure you that the president has asked us to quickly inject this money into the economy.”
Reporting by David Lawder and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis