The St Louis Fed's FRASER (Federal Reserve Archive) has just announced the addition of the new Marriner S. Eccles Document collection. It looks to be especially relevant to economic historians and those interested in economics and the Great Depression.
FRASER, a digital library dedicated to preserving the nation’s economic history, recently added the Marriner S. Eccles Document Collection. The new collection provides access to nearly 10,000 documents from the archival collection housed by the University of Utah. Eccles served as Chairman (1934-48) and member (1948-51) of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The collection provides research material about the Federal Reserve System, particularly during the 1930s and 1940s, as well as Eccles’s role in the monetary and fiscal systems of the United States during those years.
The documents can be browsed and searched by box, date, author, or keyword (the keyword field searches title, author, and description). Full-text searching is also available through a site-level advanced search, which can be narrowed to only items in the Eccles collection.
Other archival collections that have been made digitally available on FRASER include Papers from the Committee on the History of the Federal Reserve System (held by the Brookings Institution) and the William McChesney Martin Jr. Document Collection (held by the Missouri Historical Society).
FRASER has more than 640 publication titles, dated from 1789 to the present, that can be browsed by title, author, date, or topic. Full-text searching is also available.
Bloomberg has obtained previously secret loan documents from the Federal Reserve Bank and has made those documents available for download (see zip file link below).
- Fed Will Release Bank Loan Data as Top Court Rejects Appeal, By Greg Stohr and Bob Ivry, Bloomberg (Mar 21, 2011).
The order marks the first time a court has forced the Fed to reveal the names of banks that borrowed from its oldest lending program, the 98-year-old discount window. The disclosures, together with details of six bailout programs released by the central bank in December under a congressional mandate, would give taxpayers insight into the Fed's unprecedented $3.5 trillion effort to stem the 2008 financial panic.
- Fed Releases Discount-Window Loan Records During Crisis Under Court Order, By Craig Torres, Bloomberg (Mar 31, 2011).
The Federal Reserve released thousands of pages of secret loan documents under court order, almost three years after Bloomberg LP first requested details of the central bank's unprecedented support to banks during the financial crisis.
- Foreign Banks Tapped Fed’s Secret Lifeline Most at Crisis Peak, By Bradley Keoun and Craig Torres, Bloomberg (Apr 1, 2011).
Bloomberg News is posting the Fed documents here for subscribers to the Bloomberg Professional Service as well as online at www.bloomberg.com.
- zip file [135 MB, unzips to 175 MB and 894 PDF files].
Stories based on the document release are beginning to appear in the press. Here is one from the Sunday New York Times:
- The Bank Run We Knew So Little About, By GRETCHEN MORGENSON, New York Times (April 2, 2011)
The Federal Reserve released documents that identify the recipients of $3.3 trillion in emergency aid provided at the height of the financial crisis. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform And Consumer Protection Act (Public Law 111-203) required the release of this information, which had been secret. A lot has been written about this, but here are some of the links I have found particularly interesting. (Thanks to Gary and ResourceShelf for many of these tips!).
- FRB: Regulatory Reform: Transaction Data, Federal Reserve Board (The data.)
- Federal Reserve releases detailed information about transactions conducted to stabilize markets during the recent financial crisis, Sabrina I. Pacifici, BeSpacific. (Sabrina's summary of what the Fed has put online.)
- Inured to “Trillions”, By Ryan Chittum, Columbia Journalism Review. (CJR has some of the most interesting coverage, summarizing the facts and the analysis coming from journalists.)
- Audit Notes: The Federal Reserve’s Trillion-Dollar Bailout Document Dump, By Ryan Chittum, Columbia Journalism Review. (With links to more news coverage and evaluations of the data.)
- Audit Notes: Too Big to Fail Edition, By Ryan Chittum, Columbia Journalism Review. (CJR does more analysis of the analyses.)
- A Real Jaw Dropper at the Federal Reserve, by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Huffington Post. (Sanders, who wrote the amendment to the Dodd-Frank Bill that required the disclosure, gives his first take on the data.)
- Interactive: Which Banks Got Emergency Loans from the Fed During the Financial Meltdown?, By Karen Weise and Dan Nguyen, ProPublica. (ProPublica's interactive mashup of the data.)
- Fed Emergency Lending , Wall Street Journal (The WSJ's mashup of the data.)
- Decoding the Fed’s Emergency Programs, Wall Street Journal. (The WSJ explains some of the details.)
As noted here before, the Federal Reserve has been reluctant to release documents about bailout money.
Now according to POGO, "Governmentattic.org has posted several documents from the Federal Reserve in response to a FOIA request about the Fed's lending activities related to the credit crisis" but "the Fed was withholding over 2,000 pages of information under the (b)(4) and (b)(5) FOIA exemptions, which protect against the disclosure of "trade secrets" and "inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters.""
The Fed Knows Best, Project on Government Oversight, Feb 23, 2009.
Fed Refuses to Disclose Recipients of $2 Trillion (Update2), By Mark Pittman, Bloomberg, Dec. 12, 2008.
The Federal Reserve refused a request by Bloomberg News to disclose the recipients of more than $2 trillion of emergency loans from U.S. taxpayers and the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.
Bloomberg filed suit Nov. 7 under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act requesting details about the terms of 11 Fed lending programs, most created during the deepest financial crisis since the Great Depression.
The Fed responded Dec. 8, saying it’s allowed to withhold internal memos as well as information about trade secrets and commercial information. The institution confirmed that a records search found 231 pages of documents pertaining to some of the requests.