Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Volcker on Bear Stearns and more

by Bill McBride on 4/08/2008 03:43:00 PM

Note: Hopefully Bloomberg will post a video later today.

From Bloomberg: Volcker Says Fed's Bear Loan Stretches Legal Power

``The Federal Reserve has judged it necessary to take actions that extend to the very edge of its lawful and implied powers, transcending in the process certain long-embedded central banking principles and practices,'' Volcker said in a speech to the Economic Club of New York.
...
Volcker, the Fed chairman from 1979 to 1987, had implicit criticism for U.S. regulators and market participants who allowed ``excesses of subprime mortgages'' to spread into ``the mother of all crises.'' The Fed's Bear Stearns loan was unusual, he said.

``What appears to be in substance a direct transfer of mortgage and mortgage-backed securities of questionable pedigree from an investment bank to the Federal Reserve seems to test the time-honored central bank mantra in time of crisis: lend freely at high rates against good collateral; test it to the point of no return,'' he said.
...
Volcker said the modern financial system has ``failed the test'' of the marketplace. When asked whether he predicts a ``dollar crisis,'' he said, ``you don't have to predict it, you're in it.''