The U.S. government is arguably the largest and most influential financial institution in the world, with about $2.7 trillion outstanding in loans and loan guarantees. Among other things, these federal credit programs help college students afford tuition, first-time homebuyers access affordable mortgages, and budding small businesses get the capital they need to expand.
In these and many other cases, the private sector will simply not lend to certain borrowers or will lend only under unaffordable or unmanageable conditions. That’s why we rely on federal credit programs: The U.S. government can bear certain risks that the private sector cannot to achieve certain public goals such as increasing the global competitiveness of our workforce, returning stability to the U.S. housing market, and adding jobs through business expansion.
These programs typically run at very low cost to taxpayers. On average, every $1 allocated to loan and guarantee programs generates more than $99 of economic activity from individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and state and local governments, according to our analysis