In case you missed it, the Fed’s $600 billion midsize business initiative, the Main Street Lending Program kicked off last week. Yeah, that’s right. It’s a $600 billion program that you have probably never heard of. Remember when $600 billion was a big number?

Unsurprisingly, the program is off to a slow start. After months of administrative headaches, its launch was met with lackluster participation from the nation’s largest banks, and a seemingly low level of borrower interest. Targeting mid-size businesses, with a minimum loan size of $250,000, loans made through the Main Street program are a different animal compared to PPP loans.

First, they eventually have be repaid in full by borrowers. Weird, right? Loans that have to be repaid? And secondly, banks must retain some (5%) of the loans they originate through the program on their balance sheets.

Some banks were spooked by the large paperwork requirements, some big companies have better options for securing credit, and even if there is a large pent-up demand, it will take time for the program to ramp up. Nevertheless, it is worth watching how this initiative develops over the coming months.

Earlier this year, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell was not joking around when he said the Fed was prepared to “use its f...

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