The Federal Reserve Board expanded the scope of eligible collateral under the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility on Friday to include commercial mortgage-backed securities, exposing the central bank to more risk as it seeks to repair a market that collapsed during the middle of last year.
"The inclusion of CMBS as eligible collateral for Talf loans will prevent defaults on economically viable commercial properties, increase the capacity of current holders of maturing mortgages to make additional loans and facilitate the sale of distressed properties," the Fed said.
The central bank will begin accepting commercial mortgage-backed securities next month. The round of loan requests the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is scheduled to take Tuesday will accept securities backed by auto, card, student and small-business loans.
The Fed has suggested for several months that it would expand the facility to include the commercial securities. However, as interest in the program waned, skepticism grew about whether the change would ever happen.
The Fed still is not accepting residential mortgage-backed securities, though some investors and market participants have been pushing for such a change.
In another win for investors, the Fed said it will extend the maturities of Talf loans to five years, from the current three years.
That change will also take effect next month.
The Fed initially will lend up to $100 billion at the longer maturities, but it indicated that the limit is likely to increase later. The central bank has committed up to $1 trillion for the facility.
Under the program, the Fed lends to investors, which use the money to buy securities backed by consumer loans. The goal is to liquefy the markets for consumer debt by giving investors an incentive to buy the securities.