Retailers welcome Federal Reserve expansion of Main Street Lending Program

"Access to financial relief should be available to businesses of all sizes."

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay

WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation today welcomed the Federal Reserve’s decision to allow larger midsize businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic to participate in its $600 billion Main Street Lending Program, a move that was proposed by NRF earlier this month.

“Expanding eligibility for this program will provide much-needed support for some of America’s most recognizable brands and their workers, who have been severely impacted by the pandemic,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Access to financial relief should be available to businesses of all sizes, but many midsize businesses were left out of the CARES Act relief package. Today’s announcement will close that gap and ensure that companies in the middle can access valuable economic support critical to preserving their ability to reopen quickly once the crisis has passed.”

As created by the Fed, the Main Street Lending Program was limited to businesses with no more than 10,000 employees and $2.5 billion in revenue. But in an April 16 letter to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, NRF said those limits would leave out hundreds of retailers and asked that the Fed and Treasury “exercise discretion to make these programs more widely available.”

A number of retail CEOs reiterated the concern during a recent call between NRF and Mnuchin. This morning, the Fed said it would expand the program to include companies with up to 15,000 employees and $5 billion in revenues.

The Main Street Lending Program is a component of a three-part package of federal lending initiatives adopted to address the pandemic, including the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses with up to 500 workers and customized liquidity facilities for the nation’s largest employers.

About NRF
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.