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November 25th, 2008 (Modified on March 6th, 2009)

Fed Aims to Boost Consumer Lending

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In a major announcement made this morning, the Federal Reserve has begun to construct some relief for Main Street — finally! As credit conditions worsened in September and seemingly ground to a halt in October, consumers suddenly found themselves unable to pull credit from anywhere. The Fed announced this morning the creation of the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) that will “lend up to $200 billion on a non-recourse basis to holders of certain AAA-rated ABS” to increase the issuance of debt designed to free up money for credit cards, auto loans, student loans, and small business loans:

The Fed hopes the plan will create liquidity in the market for securities backed by the receivables from such loans, which in turn would encourage originators of consumer loans to restart lending to individuals.

“The TALF is designed to increase credit availability and support economic activity by facilitating renewed issuance of consumer and small business ABS at more normal interest rate spreads,” wrote the Federal Reserve in this morning’s press release.

Interest-rate spreads of ABS (asset-backed securities) rose to levels not seen in recent history. The large spreads generated greater risk, further diluting the availability of ABS, which funded a large portion of consumer credit in the market. The lack of credit availability has already taken a destructive toll on American consumers, households, and small businesses. This has been the first initiative we have seen to reestablish consumer lending.

What does this mean for consumers? According to Moody’s, there has been no issuance of credit card ABS since September. Moody’s statistic proves the difficulty consumers have faced gaining access to credit over the last few months . The Fed’s decision is designed to increase the issuance of credit cards, auto loans, student and small business loans. The “normal” access to credit is and always has been fundamental to the survival and livelihood of consumers and businesses alike.

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About the HSH Blog

HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

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Tim Manni

Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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