Watching Government:
Laggard loans

A year ago, as small US oil producers were suffering from rock-bottom oil prices, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) had an idea.Legislation had been proposed to help steel producers get loans. Why not apply the concept to oil companies too?Congress passed the bill in August (OGJ, Aug. 23, 1999, p. 36), and President Bill Clinton signed the Emergency Oil and Gas Loan Guarantee program into law.Under the law, the federal government would guarantee 85% of a qualifying bank loan to a producer, making it possible for the banks to lend more readily than before. Individuals or firms could borrow up to $10 million each, until the total loans reached $500 million.It took the Department of Commerce several...

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