The private equity fund that purchased New York City taxi medallions from the NCUA has announced a third payment holiday for owner-drivers whose business has plunged as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
In announcing the 30-day holiday, Marblegate Asset Management said the goal was to help the owner-drivers manage their loans. This marks the third month in a row that Marblegate announced that drivers did not have to make a payment on their loans.
The announcement came as NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood this week defended the controversial sale during testimony on Capitol Hill. The NCUA was left holding thousands of medallions following the failure of Melrose and LOMTO Federal Credit Union. The two institutions offered loans to drivers using their medallions as collateral. The value of those medallions has plunged in recent years as a result of competition from ride-sharing companies.
The NCUA announced in February that it was selling thousands of medallions to Marblegate, even as New York City officials attempted to form a private-public partnership to purchase the loans. In recent days there have been discussions among city officials and private business owners who might help refinance the loans now owned by Marblegate.
On Wednesday NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood defended the sale during testimony at a roundtable discussion held by the House Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee. Hood called Marblegate “a buyer who has a history of working proactively with borrowers.”
However, Subcommittee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) accused the agency of selling the loans over the objections of the New York congressional delegation. He said the sale makes “it harder for New York City taxi drivers who are already reeling” from the coronavirus.