Why did AIG take the fall for the 2008 financial crisis while other big banks survived just fine?Continue reading
Graphics by Ben Chartoff and Amy Cesal. Network analysis by Alexander Furnas. In the three years since President Barack Obama signed the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, federal regulators charged with implementing it have opened their doors to the biggest banks over and over again – 14 times as frequently as they have to representatives of consumer and pro-financial reform groups, a new Sunlight Foundation analysis finds. By most accounts, the banks’ besiege-the-regulators strategy has yielded rich rewards in sapping, slowing, and stymieing regulations intended to prevent another massive financial crisis. The emerging consensus is that Dodd-Frank implementation is limping, while the big banks are poised to return to being the most profitable industry in the U.S. Sunlight’s analysis is based on logs of Dodd-Frank meetings at the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the Treasury, and the Federal Reserve Board., available through Sunlight’s Dodd-Frank Meetings Tracker. Because of problems with data quality and comprehensiveness, we had to exclude two other regulatory agencies (the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission). And because of the time involved in data cleaning, we also excluded 22 percent of reported meetings – those that did not include “active” players. (By “active” we mean organizations that showed up at least five times in meeting logs.) For more on the data, see our methodology section at the end of this post, and read our companion piece, “Dodd-Frank meeting data need improvement.” Still, the imbalances our analysis reveals are so overwhelming that we can be confident that they are not merely a feature of the reporting practices.Continue reading
This piece was prepared in collaboration with Drew Vogel In the two years since the mammoth Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act became law, federal regulators have heard overwhelmingly from the biggest banks, according to a new Sunlight Foundation analysis of financial regulatory agency meeting logs. The voices of reform-oriented groups have been much quieter – particularly in the past 12 months. Since July 21, 2010 (when the president signed Dodd-Frank), regulators at the three major banking regulatory agencies – Treasury, the Fed and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) – have reported meeting with 20 big banks and banking associations on average a combined 12.5 times per week – as compared to on average just 2.3 meetings with reform-oriented groups. The top 20 banks show up 1,298 times in meeting logs at the three agencies, while groups favoring tighter regulations of the financial markets show up just 242 times.Continue reading
A grassroots movement with some big name support is calling for Washington’s favorite banker to cut his ties with the Fed. Some 30,000 signatures have been collected on a Change.org petition urging that the chief executive of embattled JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, resign or be removed from the New York Federal Reserve's board of directors. The petition creator, Simon Johnson, is the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund. In the past Change.org waged successful campaigns on issues ranging form the Bank of America debit card fee, to working conditions in Apple’s Chinese ...Continue reading
In a bid to increase transparency, the Federal Reserve will for the first time make public the forecasts for benchmark interest rates that will inform discussions at tomorrow's meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which sets monetary policy for the nation. But despite this action, there is still plenty of opacity in how the Fed conducts business.
For starters, the Fed delays release of the actual transcripts of these meetings for five years. While the FOMC releases minutes of these meetings three weeks after the fact, the most recent full transcript currently available is for December 12 ...Continue reading
Stocks surged today as the announcement settled in that six central banks are joining forces to ease terms of currency liquidity swaps. As we have reported earlier here and here, the European Central Bank has recently been increasing its borrowing under the emergency swap facility, which is similar to that set up during the 2008 financial crisis, when lending at one point peaked at $586 billion.
While the Federal Reserve reports the totals that flow through this facility weekly here, it does not provide information on which banks in turn receive loans from other central banks. The European Central Bank ...Continue reading
On Sunday, Bloomberg News reported on an estimated $13 billion worth of income that banks gained by taking advantage of... View ArticleContinue reading
If you want to know who says what at next week's meeting of the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which oversees market operations for the central bank, you will have to wait until the year 2016 to find out.
While the FOMC releases the minutes of these meetings three weeks after the fact, full transcripts are kept secret for five years. Right now the most recent transcript available is for December 13, 2005. And even these transcripts have been edited from the original.
As a result, the public still does not know the details of what ...Continue reading
In the wake of the financial crisis, when members of Congress and others raised questions about conflicts of interest within the Federal Reserve banking system and individual banks, the Federal Reserve should take concrete steps to become more transparent, reports the General Accountability Office (GAO) in a report issued today.
"[W]ithout more complete documentation of the directors’ roles and responsibilities with regard to the supervision and regulation functions, as well as increased public disclosure on governance practices to enhance accountability and transparency, questions about Reserve Bank governance will remain," reads the report.
Today's report is the second part ...Continue reading
It took an act of Congress and a major lawsuit, but the details of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board's emergency loan programs and discount window lending--which peaked at more than a trillion dollars for the nation's biggest banks and other institutions during the recent financial meltdown--finally came into the light.
Created in 1913, the central bank has always kept details of its activities as the “lender of last resort” closely held. The rationale has been that releasing information about which banks and institutions seek temporary assistance from the Fed could cause runs on banks and panic in ...Continue reading