Welcome to Federal Credit Fridays! The U.S. government is one of the largest lenders and credit guarantors on earth. Its portfolio is estimated at over $3.6 trillion, as measured by loan assets and the face value of loan guarantees. The government uses credit for a wide variety of policy missions, including housing, higher education, small businesses, rural and urban economic development, infrastructure, and export promotion, among others. This podcast will familiarize you with the vast world of federal credit, and we hope that you’ll learn about similarities and differences between these programs as well as the importance of their work to achieving policy missions within the framework of public-private collaboration.
In today’s podcast, I’m taking a break from our typical expert interview format. I’m on the road this summer teaching credit underwriting skills to 300 U.S. Department of Agriculture Community Facilities Direct Loan underwriters. The Community Facilities Programs extend billions in rural loans to develop and expand rural hospitals, educational facilities, first responder facilities, and more. These programs earn a surplus for the taxpayer as credit losses remain below the government's net interest margin.
To protect and preserve this high-credit-quality policy, Department of Agriculture leadership invested in underwriting training, and I was honored to be selected as the instructor. This is in-person classroom training with homework, hands-on case studies, and exercises, and it includes a final exam. These loan specialists were serious about learning, and I was able to grab a few of them after class for their thoughts. Listen below and let us know what you think.