Bernanke Says TALF Program Demand Likely Rising

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Investors appear to be more willing to participate in a U.S. Federal Reserve program aimed at reviving consumer and business lending, and demand for the program appears to picking up, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a letter to a lawmaker released on Friday.

Ben Bernanke

"Early indications are that demand for TALF (Term Asset-backed Loan Facility) loans in June will be even higher" than the $10.9 billion in TALF loans that were requested at the May funding, he said in a May 12 letter to Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat.

Bernanke acknowledged that loans in March and April were somewhat lower than expected.

Issuers of asset-backed securities were reluctant to participate in a government program, and investors and primary dealers who were the Fed's agents for extending TALF loans had problems reaching mutually satisfactory arrangements, he said.

However, investors appear to have warmed to the program, and activity in the asset-backed securities market more broadly appears to have picked up, the Fed chair said.

"Conditions in the ABS market have improved somewhat, likely owing in part to the introduction of TALF," he said.