A decision late Friday (Feb. 6) by the Federal Reserve to pour $200 billion into a fund to stabilize consumer credit will give a boost to manufacturers of recreation vehicles in Oregon, said Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio.
According to a report in The Oregonian, DeFazio spearheaded an effort by Oregon lawmakers to convince the Fed to allow the new credit program to be used on loans for purchasing RVs. Oregon is a major producer of the pricey vehicles that have been hard hit by rising gas prices and a shortage of credit.
The Fed announced more details about a new credit program intended to provide support for various types of consumer loans, including credit cards, auto and student loans. But the Fed, which earlier indicated it would start the $200 billion program in February, said only that it would announce the exact starting date later this month.
“The recreation vehicle industry is vital to the Oregon economy, but these otherwise healthy companies have been devastated by the economic recession and the lack of credit for both consumers and dealers,” DeFazio said in a statement.
“People are already facing reduced wages, job losses and an increased cost of living. Extending credit from the Federal Reserve will save thousands of Oregon jobs at a time when we most need it,” the statement said.
In normal economic times, banks would make these loans but with the economy collapsing the credit markets have frozen solid. “Friday’s action by the Federal Reserve will help thaw the credit market and encourage banks to make loans to people with good credit for the purchase of recreational vehicles and to recreational vehicle dealers to stock their showrooms,” DeFazio’s statement said. “This action will save thousands of jobs in Oregon by keeping the recreational vehicle industry in business.”
At its peak in 2005, the recreational vehicle industry in Oregon employed close to 5,000 workers.
Making credit more available won’t solve all the problems facing the RV industry, economists say. But including the industry in the Fed’s program could bring some business back, DeFazio said.