The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act directed GAO to conduct a one-time audit of the emergency loan programs and other assistance authorized by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve Board) during the recent financial crisis. This report examines the emergency actions taken by the Federal Reserve Board from December 1, 2007, through July 21, 2010. For each of these actions, where relevant, GAO's objectives included a review of (1) the basis and purpose for its authorization, as well as accounting and financial reporting internal controls; (2) the use, selection, and payment of vendors; (3) management of conflicts of interest; (4) policies in place to secure loan repayment; and (5) the treatment of program participants. To meet these objectives, GAO reviewed program documentation, analyzed program data, and interviewed officials from the Federal Reserve Board and Reserve Banks (Federal Reserve System).
On numerous occasions in 2008 and 2009, the Federal Reserve Board invoked emergency authority under the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 to authorize new broad-based programs and financial assistance to individual institutions to stabilize financial markets. Loans outstanding for the emergency programs peaked at more than $1 trillion in late 2008. The Federal Reserve Board directed the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) to implement most of these emergency actions. In a few cases, the Federal Reserve Board authorized a Reserve Bank to lend to a limited liability corporation (LLC) to finance the purchase of assets from a single institution.
In 2009 and 2010, FRBNY also executed large-scale purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities to support the housing market. The Reserve Banks' and LLCs' financial statements, which include the emergency programs' accounts and activities, and their related financial reporting internal controls, are audited annually by an independent auditing firm. These independent financial statement audits, as well as other audits and reviews conducted by the Federal Reserve Board, its Inspector General, and the Reserve Banks' internal audit function, did not report any significant accounting or financial reporting internal control issues concerning the emergency programs.
The Reserve Banks, primarily FRBNY, awarded 103 contracts worth $659.4 million from 2008 through 2010 to help carry out their emergency activities. A few contracts accounted for most of the spending on vendor services. For a significant portion of the fees, program recipients reimbursed the Reserve Banks or the fees were paid from program income. The Reserve Banks relied more extensively on vendors for programs that assisted a single institution than for broad-based programs. Most of the contracts, including 8 of the 10 highest-value contracts, were awarded noncompetitively, primarily due to exigent circumstances. These contract awards were consistent with FRBNY's acquisition policies, but the policies could be improved by providing additional guidance on the use of competition exceptions, such as seeking as much competition as practicable and limiting the duration of noncompetitive contracts to the exigency period. To better ensure that Reserve Banks do not miss opportunities to obtain competition and receive the most favorable terms for services acquired, GAO recommends that they revise their acquisition policies to provide such guidance.
FRBNY took steps to manage conflicts of interest for its employees, directors, and program vendors, but opportunities exist to strengthen its conflict policies. In particular, FRBNY expanded its guidance and monitoring for employee conflicts, but new roles assumed by FRBNY and its employees during the crisis gave rise to potential conflicts that were not specifically addressed in the Code of Conduct or other FRBNY policies. For example, FRBNY's existing restrictions on its employees' financial interests did not specifically prohibit investments in certain nonbank institutions that received emergency assistance. To manage potential conflicts related to employees' holdings of such investments, FRBNY relied on provisions in its code that incorporate requirements of a federal criminal conflict of interest statute and its regulations. GAO makes seven recommendations to the Federal Reserve Board to strengthen policies for managing noncompetitive vendor selections, conflicts of interest, risks related to emergency lending, and documentation of emergency program decisions. The Federal Reserve Board agreed that GAO's recommendations would benefit its response to future crises and agreed to strongly consider how best to respond to them.
This the first ever GAO audit of the Federal Reserve was carried out in 2011 due to the Ron Paul, Alan Grayson Amendment to the Dodd-Frank bill, which passed last year. Jim DeMint, a Republican Senator, and Bernie Sanders, an independent Senator, led the charge for a Federal Reserve audit in the Senate, but watered down the original language of the house bill (HR1207), so that a complete audit would not be carried out. Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, and various other bankers vehemently opposed. We now know the list of institutions that received the most money from the Federal Reserve can be found on page 131 of the GAO Audit and are as follows:
- Citigroup: $2.5 trillion($2,500,000,000,000)
- Morgan Stanley: $2.04 trillion ($2,040,000,000,000)
- Merrill Lynch: $1.949 trillion ($1,949,000,000,000)
- Bank of America: $1.344 trillion ( $1,344,000,000,000 )
- Barclays PLC ( United Kingdom ): $868 billion ( $868,000,000,000 )
- Bear Sterns: $853 billion ($853,000,000,000)
- Goldman Sachs: $814 billion ( $814,000,000,000 )
- Royal Bank of Scotland ( UK ): $541 billion ( $541,000,000,000 )
- JP Morgan Chase: $391 billion ($391,000,000,000)
- Deutsche Bank ( Germany ): $354 billion ( $354,000,000,000 )
- UBS ( Switzerland): $287 billion ($287,000,000,000)
- Credit Suisse ( Switzerland ): $262 billion ( $262,000,000,000 )
- Lehman Brothers: $183 billion ( $183,000,000,000 )
- Bank of Scotland (United Kingdom): $181 billion ( $181,000,000,000 )
- BNP Paribas (France): $175 billion ( $175,000,000,000 )
Friends of the African Union and its Partner New Future Foundation through the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of the USA (#UNUPR) asked for $5 Trillion of this Authority to End Institutionalized Federal Government Racism.
The FAU African American Bank goal is to be a Federal Reserve Bank Partner so as to create a cyber currency. It will based on the $5T in Quantitative Easing authority to be the monetary transaction support for at least 7 million American households in the USA from its headquarters in Cincinnati. It will do so through an in person membership and online Software as a Service infrastructure. By 2020 The African American Bank will have 20 million users in the USA through Friends of the African Union and a million businesses (with an average gross receipts of $225K) through Friends of the African Union’s Chamber of Commerce.
BACKGROUND: The Federal Reserve Act (ch. 6, 38 Stat. 251, enacted December 23, 1913, 12 U.S.C. ch. 3) is an Act of Congress that created and established the Federal Reserve System, the central banking system of the United States, and granted it the legal authority to issue Federal Reserve Notes (now commonly known as the U.S. Dollar) and Federal Reserve Bank Notes as legal tender. The Act was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson.
The Federal Reserve Act created a system of private and public entities; there were to be at least eight, and no more than 12, private regional Federal Reserve banks.Twelve were established, and each had various branches, a board of directors, and district boundaries. The Federal Reserve Board, consisting of seven members, was created as the governing body of the Fed. Each member is appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. In 1935, the Board was renamed and restructured. Also created as part of the Federal Reserve System was a 12-member Federal Advisory Committee and a single new United States currency, the Federal Reserve Note. The Federal Reserve act did create a national currency, but more importantly, the act was to create a monetary system that could respond effectively to the different stresses in the banking system and create a stable financial system. Along with the goal of creating a national monetary system and financial stability, the Federal Reserve Act also provided many other functions and financial services for the economy such as a check clearing and collection for all members of the Federal Reserve.
With the passing of the Federal Reserve Act, Congress required that all nationally chartered banks become members of the Federal Reserve System. These banks were required to purchase specified non-transferable stock in their regional Federal Reserve banks, and to set aside a stipulated amount of non-interest bearing reserves with their respective reserve banks. Since 1980, all depository institutions have been required to set aside reserves with the Federal Reserve. Such institutions are entitled to certain Federal Reserve services. State chartered banks were given the option of becoming members of the Federal Reserve System and in the case of the exercise of such option were to be subject to supervision, in part, by the Federal Reserve System. Member banks became entitled to have access to discounted loans at the discount window in their respective reserve banks, to a 6% annual dividend in their Federal Reserve stock, and to other services.
The Panic of 1907 – also known as the 1907 Bankers' Panic or Knickerbocker Crisis– was a United States financial crisis that took place over a three-week period starting in mid-October, when the New York Stock Exchange fell almost 50% from its peak the previous year. Panic occurred, as this was during a time of economic recession, and there were numerous runs on banks and trust companies. The 1907 panic eventually spread throughout the nation when many state and local banks and businesses enteredbankruptcy. Primary causes of the run included a retraction of market liquidity by a number of New York City banks and a loss of confidence among depositors, exacerbated by unregulated side bets at bucket shops. The panic was triggered by the failed attempt in October 1907 to corner the market on stock of the United Copper Company. When this bid failed, banks that had lent money to the cornering scheme suffered runs that later spread to affiliated banks and trusts, leading a week later to the downfall of the Knickerbocker Trust Company—New York City's third-largest trust. The collapse of the Knickerbocker spread fear throughout the city's trusts as regional banks withdrew reserves from New York City banks. Panic extended across the nation as vast numbers of people withdrew deposits from their regional banks.
The panic might have deepened if not for the intervention of financier J. P. Morgan, who pledged large sums of his own money, and convinced other New York bankers to do the same, to shore up the banking system. At the time, the United States did not have a central bankto inject liquidity back into the market. By November, the financial contagion had largely ended, only to be replaced by a further crisis. This was due to the heavy borrowing of a large brokerage firm that used the stock of Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company (TC&I) ascollateral. Collapse of TC&I's stock price was averted by an emergency takeover by Morgan's U.S. Steel Corporation—a move approved byanti-monopolist president Theodore Roosevelt. The following year, Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, father-in-law of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., established and chaired a commission to investigate the crisis and propose future solutions, leading to the creation of the Federal Reserve System.
The panic of 1907 occurred during a lengthy economic contraction—measured by the National Bureau of Economic Research as occurring between May 1907 and June 1908. The interrelated contraction, bank panic and falling stock market resulted in significant economic disruption. Industrial production dropped further than after any previous bank run, while 1907 saw the second-highest volume of bankruptcies to that date. Production fell by 11%, imports by 26%, while unemployment rose to 8% from under 3%. Immigration dropped to 750,000 people in 1909, from 1.2 million two years earlier.
Since the end of the Civil War, the United States had experienced panics of varying severity. Economists Charles Calomiris and Gary Gorton rate the worst panics as those leading to widespread bank suspensions—the panics of 1873, 1893, and 1907, and a suspension in 1914. Widespread suspensions were forestalled through coordinated actions during both the 1884 and the 1890 panics. A bank crisis in 1896, in which there was a perceived need for coordination, is also sometimes classified as a panic.
The frequency of crises and the severity of the 1907 panic added to concern about the outsized role of J.P. Morgan which led to renewed impetus toward a national debate on reform. In May 1908, Congress passed the Aldrich–Vreeland Act that established the National Monetary Commission to investigate the panic and to propose legislation to regulate banking. Senator Nelson Aldrich (R–RI), the chairman of the National Monetary Commission, went to Europe for almost two years to study that continent's banking systems.
Aldrich convened a secret conference with a number of the nation's leading financiers at the Jekyll Island Club, off the coast of Georgia, to discuss monetary policy and the banking system in November 1910. Aldrich and A. P. Andrew (Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Department), Paul Warburg (representing Kuhn, Loeb & Co.), Frank A. Vanderlip (James Stillman's successor as president of the National City Bank of New York), Henry P. Davison (senior partner of J. P. Morgan Company), Charles D. Norton (president of the Morgan-dominated First National Bank of New York), and Benjamin Strong (representing J. P. Morgan), produced a design for a "National Reserve Bank".
The final report of the National Monetary Commission was published on January 11, 1911. For nearly two years legislators debated the proposal and it was not until December 23, 1913, that Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act. President Woodrow Wilson signed the legislation immediately and the legislation was enacted on the same day, December 23, 1913, creating the Federal Reserve System.Charles Hamlin became the Fed's first chairman, and none other than Morgan's deputy Benjamin Strong became president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the most important regional bank with a permanent seat on the Federal Open Market CommitteeThese are considered by many to be the 8 primary shareholders in the American Federal Reserve banking system:
- The Rothschild Family – London & Berlin
- The Lazard Brothers - Paris
- Israel Seiff and his successors - Italy
- Kuhn-Loeb Company - Germany
- The Warburgs – Amsterdam & Hamburg
- Hudson Castle Group Inc - New York
- Goldman & Sachs - New York
- The Rockefeller Family - New York
Sidenote: Although JP Morgan was briefly seen as a hero, widespread fears concerning plutocracy and concentrated wealth soon eroded this view. Morgan's bank had survived, but the trust companies that were a growing rival to traditional banks were badly damaged. Some analysts believed that the panic had been engineered to damage confidence in trust companies so that banks would benefit.
A Bit of History
In August of 1929, the Fed began to tighten the money supply continually by buying more government bonds. At the same time, all the Wall Street giants of the era, including John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan divested from the stockmarket and put all their assets into cash and gold.
Soon thereafter, on October 24, 1929, the large brokerages all simultaneously called in their 24 hour “call-loans.” Brokers and investors were now forced to sell their stocks at any price they could get to cover these loans. The resulting market crash on “Black Thursday” was the beginning of the Great Depression. The name Black Thursday was given to Thursday, Oct. 24, 1929, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 11% at the open in very heavy volume, precipitating the Wall Street crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression of the 1930s.
The Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, Representative Louis T. Mc Fadden, accused the Fed and international bankers of premeditating the crash. “It was not accidental,” he declared, “it was a carefully contrived occurrence (created by international bankers) to bring about a condition of despair…so that they might emerge as rulers of us all.”
He went on to accuse European “statesmen and financiers” of creating the situation to facilitate the reacquisition of the massive amounts of gold which Europe had lost to the U.S. during WWI. In a 2000 interview, Nobel Prize winning economist and Stanford University Professor Milton Friedman stated: “At all times, the Federal Reserve had the power and the knowledge to have stopped that. And there were people at the time who were all the time urging them to do that. So it was, in my opinion, clearly a mistake of policy that led to the Great Depression.”