COVID-19 Updates

Our financial regulators and the Trump Administration are closely monitoring and responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Committee Republicans are working with these officials to ensure the safety and soundness of our economy and financial institutions during this public health crisis. Check back regularly for updates and resources on efforts to mitigate the economic impact of coronavirus.

What’s been done so far:

  • Direct relief to businesses and families: On March 27, 2020, the House passed the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to provide direct support to families and workers that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Supporting the flow of credit to employers, consumers, and businesses:On March 23, 2020, the Federal Reserve announced that it would  create a variety of new programs which would, together, provide up to $300 billion in new financing. These programs include:
    • Establishing three new facilities:
      • Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility (PMCCF) for new bond and loan issuance.
      • Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF) for outstanding corporate bonds.
      • Term-Asset Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF), which will enable issuance of ABS backed by student loans, auto loans, credit card loans, and loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration.
    • Expanding two existing facilities:
      • MMLF to include a wider range of securities, including VRDNs and bank CDs.
      • CPFF to include high-quality, tax-exempt CP as eligible securities.
  • Protecting Renters in Multifamily Properties: On March 23, 2020, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that it will require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (The Enterprises) to offer mortgage forbearance to multifamily property owners with the condition that they suspend evictions for residents unable to pay rent due to the impact of the coronavirus. This option is open to all multifamily properties with an Enterprise-backed mortgage, and will help renters stay in their homes during these trying times.
  • Lending to businesses and consumers: On March 19, 2020, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chair, Jelena McWilliams, took an important step to ensure financial institutions are able to lend to businesses and consumers impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) by pushing for a delay in implementing the ill-advised Current Expected Credit Losses (CECL) standard.
  • Protecting homeowners: On March 18, 2020, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Trump Administration took a bold step to prevent homeowners with loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac from being foreclosed upon or evicted during this national emergency.
  • Defense Production Act: On March 18, 2020, President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) in the ongoing fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) to help ensure the American people have access to testing, medical supplies, and lifesaving medicines.
  • Money Market Fund Assistance: On March 18, 2020, the Federal Reserve established the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility (MMFL) to assist money market funds in meeting demands for redemptions by households and other investors. This facility will enhance overall market function and provide more credit to the broader economy.
  • Expanding access to credit: On March 17, 2020, the Federal Reserve announced it will establish a Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF). The PDCF allows “primary dealers” to have access to more liquidity for their short-term financing needs. This allows these primary dealers to provide more credit to job creators and households in need during COVID-19.
  • Cash flow to businesses and consumers: On March 17, 2020, the Fed announced that it will establish a commercial paper facility to support companies and banks providing financing for a wide range of economic activity. For companies, that means helping in their day-to-day operation like making payroll. For households, it means providing funding to financial firms that provide auto loans and mortgages to American families.
  • More flexibility: On March 17, 2020, federal bank regulatory agencies announced an interim final rule that facilitates the use of firms' capital buffers to promote lending activity to households and businesses.
  • Discount window: On March 16, 2020, federal bank regulatory agencies released a statement encouraging banks to use the Federal Reserve's "discount window" so that they can continue supporting households and businesses.
  • Stimulating the economy: On March 15, 2020, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates, bringing the federal funds rate to between 0% and 0.25% to stimulate the economy. 
  • Increased relief: On March 12, 2020, the New York Fed announced it will inject $1.5 trillion into funding markets to ensure stability in repo market operations and in our financial institutions. 
  • Pandemic guidance: On March 10, 2020, financial regulators released an update to its pandemic planning for financial institutions to prevent disruption of core operations by the coronavirus.
  • Consumer assistance: On March 9, 2020, federal and state bank regulators encouraged financial institutions to work with borrowers and customers affected by the coronavirus.
  • Capital markets: The SEC is monitoring the capital markets and on March 4, 2020, provided conditional relief for certain filing requirements for companies affected by the coronavirus including guidance that allows certain in-person board meetings to be done remotely.
  • Contingency planning: Regulators are communicating and coordinating with their employees to ensure they are taking appropriate precautions.  The SEC became the first federal agency to ask personnel to work from home due to an employee who may have coronavirus. 
  • Industry outreach: The White House and Treasury Department are communicating and meeting with Wall Street executives to monitor the broader impact of the coronavirus on our financial system and the U.S. economy.

Mitigating Coronavirus Impact on Borrowers’ Financial Health:

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) have taken steps to remind borrowers of hardship forbearance options.

Key facts:

  • FHFA has announced that COVID-19 will trigger protocols similar to a natural disaster. 
  • Borrowers should contact their lenders directly before missing a payment to report a hardship related to COVID-19.
  • Hardship forbearance resources can be used to mitigate the impact of a missed paycheck, lost job, or other financial hardship resulting from COVID-19.

Protecting Consumers from Coronavirus Financial Impact:

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has provided useful resources to help consumers protect their families from the financial impact of COVID-19.

Resources for consumers:

You have trouble paying your bills or loans: The CFPB and other financial regulators have encouraged financial institutions to work with their customers to meet their needs during the coronavirus pandemic. Borrowers should reach out to servicers and lenders if they anticipate having trouble making their next payment.
You lose your income: State and local governments provide helpful resources for employees impacted by the coronavirus. Additionally, seniors, who are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus, may be eligible for government benefits available to older adults who need financial help.
You are targeted by a scammer: Scammers are always on the hunt for opportunities to take advantage of consumers. During uncertain times like these, we are especially vulnerable. Learn more about how to spot a scam and report fraud to the appropriate agency.

Prioritizing COVID-19 Response at the Financial Services Committee

Republican Legislative Action

On March 19, 2020, Republican members of the House Financial Services Committee introduced legislation to protect public housing residents and individuals experiencing homelessness from coronavirus (COVID-19). These five proposals, in addition to eight bills introduced by Committee leaders last week, are a part of Committee Republicans’ comprehensive approach to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic with innovative and targeted solutions.

The Interagency Council on Homelessness Coronavirus Guidance Act 
Introduced by Congressman Lee Zeldin (NY-1), this bill requires the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) to issue guidance to the public and stakeholders on best practices to prevent and respond to COVID-19 outbreaks for all classifications of homeless populations.

The Improving Emergency Disease Response via Housing Act
Introduced by Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-3), this bill requires the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to coordinate with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to identify potential COVID-19 hotspots, specifically at-risk Section 202 elderly housing properties and areas with high concentrations of homelessness. This will allow agencies to increase health outreach and testing in these areas.

The Protecting Our Elderly Residents Act
Introduced by the Ranking Republican of the Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance, Steve Stivers (OH-15), this bill requires HUD and Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to establish rules regarding non-emergency and non-resident access to Section 202 elderly housing properties and public housing to limit the spread of COVID-19 to residents.

The PHA Public Health Flexible Funding Act
Introduced by the Ranking Republican of the Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance, Steve Stivers (OH-15), this bill provides PHAs with funding flexibility to comingle their Capital and Operating funds to support their COVID-19 response.

The Informed Resident Notification Act
Introduced by Congressman Ted Budd (NC-13), this bill requires PHAs to promptly inform all residents in a public housing dwelling when an outbreak of COVID-19 has been detected in that building, so that extra precautions can be taken to limit the spread of the virus.

On March 12, 2020, Republican leaders of the Committee introduced eight bills in the ongoing effort to combat the economic and public health impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) through innovation and technology solutions. In response to President Trump’s call for a whole-of-government approach, Republicans are proposing these first steps to help businesses of all sizes, employees, and American consumers in the midst of this public health crisis:

The Crowdfunding to Combat the Coronavirus Act
Introduced by Ranking Republican Patrick McHenry (NC-10), this bill creates a $1 billion prize for creating a COVID-19 vaccine that must be affordable and widely available. Additionally, it eliminates offering ceilings in Regulation Crowdfunding, Reg. A, and Reg. A+ for startups and small businesses working to combat COVID-19, providing support for job creators while encouraging medical innovation that could save lives.

The Relief for Small Businesses Through Micro-Offerings Act
Introduced by Ranking Republican Patrick McHenry (NC-10), this bill would create a new micro-offerings exemption to allow broader access to capital for entrepreneurs and small businesses. This provides necessary support to concerned job creators whose workforce or product may be negatively impacted by COVID-19 and any shortage in traditional bank lending. Micro-lending has a demonstrated track record for providing much-needed capital to entrepreneurs—often women and minorities—in underbanked communities, helping them start and grow their businesses.

The Touchless Transactions Act
Introduced by the Ranking Republican of the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy, French Hill (AR-2), this bill would establish that any swipe, dip, or tap transaction at a merchant point of sale terminal would not trigger a signature requirement. Thanks to innovation in credit and debit transaction verification, signatures for such transactions are no longer necessary and eliminating the practice can cut down on the spread of the virus.

The Gig Economy Infrastructure Act
Introduced by Ranking Republican Patrick McHenry (NC-10), this bill expands the category of workers that can be compensated with equity compensation to gig workers. Gig workers can be food delivery couriers, contract workers, or rideshare drivers, just to name a few, and are critical in our technology driven world. This bill provides support to these workers and ensures they can continue to serve our communities in this environment.

The SEC Relief to Slow the Spread of Coronavirus Act
Introduced by Ranking Republican of the Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets, Bill Huizenga (MI-2), this bill would remove requirements for in-person meetings and hand-delivery of certain SEC-required documents. This will allow for minimization of face-to-face contact based on regulatory requirements of the federal securities laws.

The Insured Depository Institution Business Continuity Planning Act
Introduced by Vice Ranking Republican, Ann Wagner (MO-2), this bill would provide federal banking regulators with the authority to promulgate safety and soundness standards for business continuity planning and management.

The Coronavirus Guidance for Financial Institutions Act
Introduced by the Ranking Republican of the Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance, Steve Stivers (OH-15), this bill supports the Trump Administration’s efforts to encourage financial institutions to work with consumers and businesses impacted by COVID-19. This would also require regulators to issue a report to inform Congress and the American people on the effectiveness of the directive.

The Coronavirus Accounting Relief Act
Introduced by the Ranking Republican of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions, Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3), this bill would delay the implementation of an ill-advised accounting standard, the Current Expected Credit Losses (CECL), that forces institutions to increase credit losses and decrease lending at the most inopportune time. Delaying the implementation of CECL will free up billions of dollars for financial institutions to lend to small business and consumers in need.

Republican Letters to Key Officials

On March 16, 2020, Republican Committee leaders, led by Ranking Republican Patrick McHenry (NC-10), sent a letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director, Kathleen Kraninger, asking for her assistance in protecting seniors from coronavirus-fueled scams.

On March 16, 2020, Republican leader Patrick McHenry (NC-10), and Republican leader of the Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance, Steve Stivers (OH-15), sent letters to the nation’s largest Public Housing Authority (PHA) leaders urging them to implement policies to protect vulnerable residents from the coronavirus.

On March 10, 2020, Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (NC-10), along with Financial Services Committee Republican leaders, wrote a letter to Secretary Steven Mnuchin in his role as the chair of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), to request FSOC convene a meeting to ensure they are prepared to address the potential threat of coronavirus to our financial system.

In addition, the Committee leaders urged the Council to provide recommendations to member agencies to ensure business continuity and to mitigate this growing health crisis.

Secretary Mnuchin has since convened the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets to gather information on the resilience of the markets and the economic impact of COVID-19, and has scheduled a meeting of the full FSOC for March 23rd to further address these concerns.

Check back regularly for additional details and visit for health resources and updates on COVID-19.