A group of financial reform, labor, and public interest organizations today warned the Federal Reserve not to water down rules that limit the access of companies owned by private equity firms to emergency lending facilities created during the COVID-19 pandemic. Allies of the industry have pressed the Fed to loosen the affiliation rules for its new Main Street Lending Facility, a step that would ease the way for private equity to access public money despite its ready access to capital markets and uninvested capital.
“The failure to effectively control underwriting standards is one more example of ‘heads they win, tails we lose’ support for Wall Street.”
LETTER TO REGULATORS: Poor Underwriting Standards in Federal Reserve Emergency Lending Programs Could Lead to Support for Insolvent Firms
You can view or download the letter here.
Now that Wall Street is reporting earnings for a quarter that took place entirely during the coronavirus pandemic, it is clear that the Federal Reserve has bailed out the bankers quite effectively. Workers, families, small businesses, states, and municipalities have not fared nearly as well.
States and localities provide critical public services, and more than 1.5 million state and local jobs have been lost since February. Without credit support like that which should be provided by this Facility, deeper job losses and service cuts can be expected as states grapple with unprecedented fiscal challenges in the face of the coronavirus crisis. Supporting states and localities is critical for economic recovery and for assisting communities impacted by the dual public health and economic crisis we face.
The AFR Education Fund wrote a letter to the Federal Reserve calling on them to let smaller public and municipal borrowers access the Main Street Lending Program which supports bank loans to businesses and non-profits. This would assist the many public borrowers who cannot issue
Lawmakers must dramatically step up the quality and quantity of data that the executive branch releases on programs designed to provide relief from the economic downturn stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a letter from 26 labor, community, consumer, and other organizations.
We write on behalf of the undersigned organizations to urge you to include conditions in the next COVID-19 response legislation that require all organizations that receive federal financial support to retain workers, preserve workers’ rights, and institute policies and procedures to protect workers from exposure to the virus.
In place of a heartless free market of panicked investors who might want to cut their losses and sell, the plan is to simulate real buying and selling of financial products like mortgages and bonds with directed deployments of the Fed’s endless trillions. And they will be endless … Marcus Stanley of Americans for Financial Reform said, “The Fed’s perspective on this is, they want to create normalcy.” But what does “normal” mean in an economy that may be changed forever?
Fact Sheet: Private Equity Industry Poised to Profit from the Federal Reserve’s New Lending Programs
Private equity funds could access government assistance for their portfolio companies while avoiding any responsibility to repay any debt or obligations to the public purse. Private equity firms could also tap government aid to finance leveraged buyout purchases of additional companies, using public money to load target companies with debt and drain their assets while avoiding any responsibility for paying that debt back.