In a story that sheds new light on the extent of the country’s financial crisis, Bloomberg Markets magazine reported today that the Federal Reserve lent trillions of dollars to beleaguered financial institutions, with $1.2 trillion going out on just one day in 2008.
“The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy,” Bloomberg reported today. ”And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates.”
Bloomberg Markets said it went over 29,000 pages of Fed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and central bank records of more than 21,000 transactions.
“Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse,” Bloomberg reported.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke had argued back in 2008 when the crisis hit that revealing borrower details would create a stigma that would have led to more banks collapsing. And the Fed fought to keep the details of the loans, which totaled $7.77 trillion, secret long after.