In a move to make available more federal funds, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has announced that he wants to launch a special lending service geared especially for companies with fewer than 500 employees.
The funding is in direct response to the economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 outbreak, and is in addition to an earlier determination to offer additional loans through the Small Business Administration.
Congress approved $350 billion in funding for small businesses in late March as part of the massive $2 trillion COVID-19 relief CARES Act.
In an interview with business channel CNBC, Mnuchin sought to reassure the small business community by stating: “If you don’t get a loan this week, you’ll get a loan next week or the following week. The money will be there.”
The initial funding passed by Congress, and allowing for maximum loans of $10 million, is designed to cover such expenses as salaries, wages, and benefits.
The funding, as structured, additionally allows for loan payments to be deferred for up to half a year.
Mnuchin said the Trump Administration is now planning to ask Congress to approve some $250 billion in additional funding for small businesses.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has indicated support for the legislation, has also said that she wants at least half of the $250 billion to have to go through community banks, credit unions and other small-lending institutions.
Congressional sources say the request for additional small business funding will most likely meet with swift approval in both legislative chambers.
By Garry Boulard
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