President Trump has signed into law a relief package that will inject roughly $2 trillion into an economy reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. It will include direct payments for Americans and funding for states and businesses.
The New York Times reports the bill will include $1,200 direct payments to Americans depending on their income levels and will encourage businesses that have temporarily closed to keep their workers employed. It will also expand unemployment insurance by 13 weeks and enhance benefits for four months, according to sources with knowledge of the bill. Additionally, it will provide unemployment benefits to gig workers and freelance workers.
CFPB asks banks to work with coronavirus-affected consumers
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on March 26 said it would be flexible with banks as they work with their customers during the coronavirus crisis. The CFPB is putting on hold some of the reporting that banks are required to provide the agency, including reporting related to credit card accounts.
“As consumers seek temporary relief from lenders, the pandemic is impacting the operations of financial companies that are eager to help their customers during this unprecedented time,” CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger said in a March 26 statement. “Our actions today are temporary and targeted to support consumers by allowing financial companies to focus their resources on assisting consumers.”
The CFPB’s advisory comes as initial claims for unemployment insurance soared to 3.283 million for the week ending March 21. According to the Department of Labor, this is the highest level ever for this statistic, surpassing the previous high of 695,000 set in October 1982. The claims are up from 282,000 for the previous week, largely on account of the coronavirus-related layoff impact.
Earlier this month, various federal and state financial institution regulators, including the CFPB, issued a directive asking financial institutions to work with consumers who need financial help as a result of the pandemic.
Initial relief package signed into law last week
Congress approved emergency funding on March 18 to combat the coronavirus panic, and Trump signed it into law.
This aid will reportedly provide paid leave for impacted workers, broaden the scope of unemployment insurance, provide “nutrition assistance” and more resources for testing. This legislation was passed by a big majority.
Americans can delay tax payments
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced March 20 that Americans have until July 15 to file their taxes. But Mnuchin encouraged those who expect refunds to file as soon as they could.
The July 15 extension applies no matter how much a taxpayer owes, and no interest or penalties will be assessed during that period.
Student loan borrowers can suspend payments
Trump announced on March 20 that borrowers of federally-backed student loans could suspend payments for two months, and that all of these loans would automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for at least 60 days.
Making cash access available
In another stimulus effort, the Treasury is investing money to enable the Fed to guarantee up to $1 trillion in the commercial paper market, Mnuchin said. This market is critical to U.S. businesses, workers and savers, and this plan will address “liquidity issues.”