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US Fed to release crisis bailout data

March 22, 2011

US Fed to release crisis bailout data AFP/File – A view of the US Federal Reserve in Washington, DC. The US Federal Reserve said Monday it would release …

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US Federal Reserve said Monday it would release data on its emergency aid to banks after the Supreme Court rejected arguments to keep it secret.

The Supreme Court declined to review a ruling that forces the Fed to publish the names of banks that borrowed from its discount window in April and May 2008, months before the industry fell into a panic.

The discount window is a Fed facility banks can tap for short-term financing when they experience liquidity shortages, as some did when financial markets began to crumble with the housing market crash.

The Supreme Court’s decision effectively backed a request by the Bloomberg news agency and Fox News television to make the data on the Fed’s bailout moves public, despite banks and the Fed arguing this could damage perceptions of their stability.

According to the decision, the Fed will have to reveal within five days the names of the banks which received discount window loans, along with the amount, the term, and the counterparty guarantees for the loans.

“The board will fully comply with the courts’ decisions and is preparing to make the information available. Some of the information relating to emergency credit facilities was already released on December 1,” Fed spokesman David Skidmore said.

The Fed had refused to reveal the information, on the grounds that it could erode public confidence in the specific institutions involved and create more difficulties for the struggling finance sector.

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