Business

Federal Reserve releases details banks' emergency aid

Federal Reserve building
Image caption The Fed has released details of 21,000 transactions it undertook to stabilise financial markets.

The US Federal Reserve has named the companies that used its emergency loan facilities during the financial crisis and revealed how much they borrowed.

Details of more than 21,000 transactions aimed at stabilising financial markets have been posted on the Fed's website.

The documents' release was ordered by Congress, and will be picked over by critics of the Fed's stimulus packages.

The data reveals the magnitude of support offered to banks.

Loans included $2.2trillion to Citigroup, $2.1tn to Merrill Lynch, $2tn to Morgan Stanley, and $1.1tn to Bank of America.

Most of the loans have been repaid, and none are overdue, the Fed said.

Bank of America's aid included a pledge by the Fed for up to $118bn (£75.7bn; 90bn euros) of assets if loans and mortgage-backed securities turned sour.

But the documents show that America's biggest bank did not, in the end, need the money.

In September 2008 alone, AIG, the insurance giant, had to draw on $62bn from a credit facility in order to pay off immediate debts.

Foreign banks including Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Bank also borrowed from the Fed to overcome their liquidity crises.

Collapse

Bear Stearns, another large US bank, faced "imminent insolvency" on 13 March 2008 and was loaned $12.9bn to trade through the following few days, the documents show. The money has been repaid.

Bear, which eventually collapsed and was bought by JP Morgan, had a total loan facility during the financial crisis of $960bn.

The Fed has provided $3.3 trillion in emergency aid, most of it since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, when the credit markets were close to seizing up.

This stimulus money includes $600bn announced last month, which sparked complaints that the central bank was stoking inflation and asset-price bubbles.

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