On Thursday, February 25 the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held the hearing: "The Coronavirus Crisis: Next Steps for Rebuilding Main Street." The hearing examined the impact of COVID-19 and health and safety restrictions caused by it on small businesses.
NAR submitted a letter to the Committee for the hearing, thanking them for their work so far to support small businesses, and highlighting where more relief is needed. Specifically, NAR asked for continued support for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other SBA offerings to allow small businesses to stay open and meet their financial obligations during this crisis. NAR also highlighted that more relief is needed to reach a broader spectrum of businesses which may not qualify for SBA programs or need more assistance than is available through them, and for the industries that have been most impacted by the pandemic. Specifically, the Main Street Lending Facility, created by the CARES Act, should be reconfigured so its loans are available to more businesses and more lenders participate in the program. In addition,NAR pointed out that virtually no aid has been provided for commercial property owners, and the Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS) default rate remains especially high for the hardest-hit industries: hotels/lodging and retail. These will be crucial players in teh economic recovery to follow the pandemic, but will need assistance in order to make it to that point.
NAR will continue to advocate for relief for small businesses and the commercial real estate industry in general as Congress considers additional aid and relief options.