Fed not planning 'major' changes to Main Street program, Powell says


Sept 23 (Reuters) - Companies have made only "modest" use of the Federal Reserve's Main Street Lending Program, but credit is pretty broadly available to them already, and the U.S. central bank isn't planning any "major" changes to make it more broadly available, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday.

"If the economy performs worse than we expect, then Main Street will be there to take on a heavier load," Powell said in testimony before the House of Representatives Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

The appearance was the second of three that Powell is making in Congress this week.

In his opening remarks as the panel's chair, Democratic Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina took aim at the Fed's lending and corporate bond purchase programs, calling for it to use its power to help regular people and small businesses.

The Fed's programs aimed at Main Street companies and local governments, Clyburn noted, "have barely loaned any money at all."

(Reporting by Howard Schneider Editing by Paul Simao)


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