Fed ready to provide new lending program: Bernanke

Bernanke hinted at the possibility of another Federal lending program as the European Crisis worsens. According the Bernanke, the European financial crisis is causing volatility which is a threat against any sort of recovery for the United States.

By Greg Robb
Oct. 4, 2011, 11:02 a.m. EDT
Market Watch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The Federal Reserve could start a new broad-based lending program to address a potential run on U.S. financial system if the European crisis worsens, Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday. "We would make sure we would stand ready to provide as much liquidity against collateral as needed as lender-of-last-resort for our banking system" Bernanke said in testimony to the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. While the Fed does not "anticipate" needed to start such a program, "we will certainly be prepared to respond if anything eventuates," Bernanke said. The Fed would need the approval of the Treasury Secretary before starting such a program, he said. The Dodd-Frank law stripped the Fed's power to prop up ailing financial firms, as it did in the rescue of American International Group (AIG) in 2008. Bernanke said U.S. banks have minimal exposure to the periphery of the euro zone. U.S. money market firms have somewhat larger exposure, but they have also moved to "core" countries like France and Germany, he said "So it isn't so much the direct exposures that concern me," Bernanke said. Rather, market uncertainty about Europe has created enormous volatility that is impacting the U.S. recovery, he said.

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