Uptake of the Main Street Lending Program Uptake of the Main Street Lending Program

By Falk Bräuning and Teodora Paligorova

The Main Street Lending Program (Main Street) was one of several new credit facilities launched by the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Department of the Treasury in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Federal Reserve published draft terms for Main Street on April 9, 2020, and the program started purchasing loan participations on July 6, 2020, with the goal of supporting lending to a wide range of small- and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the program’s draft terms were first circulated, pandemic-related closures were taking hold throughout the economy, firms were sharply drawing down their existing credit lines, and credit market conditions were extremely tight. Against this backdrop, Main Street was intended to support the flow of credit to small and, especially, medium-sized firms and nonprofit organizations, as such entities were often too large to benefit from the Paycheck Protection Program and too small to benefit directly from Federal Reserve facilities supporting the corporate bond and commercial paper markets.