Ben Bernanke saw US economy through turbulent times

Written by Reuters | Washington | Updated: Jan 30 2014, 17:38pm hrs
Ben BernankeBen Bernanke departs the US central bank after eight largely turbulent years in which he guided the economy through the most virulent financial crisis. Reuters
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke departs the US central bank on Friday after eight largely turbulent years in which he guided the economy through the most virulent financial crisis and recession since the Great Depression.

Following is a look at Bernanke's two four-year terms in office:

Oct. 24, 2005 - President George W. Bush nominates Bernanke to be Fed chairman. Bernanke is confirmed by the Senate on Jan. 31, 2006, and sworn in the following day.

Aug. 17, 2007 - Fed cuts discount rate it charges banks for emergency loans to ease growing strains in financial markets.

Nov. 14, 2007 - Fed announces it will increase frequency of its economic forecasts in an effort to improve transparency.

December 2007 - U.S. economy slips into recession.

Dec. 12, 2007 - Fed launches Term Auction Facility to encourage borrowing by banks hesitant to borrow at its discount window. It was the first of several crisis-era programs the Fed would launch to keep money flowing through the economy.

March 11, 2008 - Fed invokes emergency powers to launch $200 billion facility to loan Treasury securities to bond dealers against a broad range of collateral, including home mortgages. The Fed would invoke emergency powers multiple times during the crisis to launch new lending facilities.

March 14, 2008 - Fed provides emergency financing to Bear Stearns through JPMorgan, the first bailout of a broker since the Great Depression.

March 16, 2008 - Bear Stearns collapses and JPMorgan agrees to buy it with $30 billion in backing from the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Fed launches Primary Dealer Credit Facility for investment banks.

Sept. 7, 2008 - U.S. government takes over mortgage finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Sept. 14, 2008 - Bank of America buys Merrill Lynch for about $50 billion.

Sept. 15, 2008 - Lehman Brothers becomes the largest firm in U.S. history to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy after the Fed and Treasury decide not to bail it out.

Sept. 16, 2008 - Fed lends $85 billion to insurer American International Group to prevent its bankruptcy.

Sept. 19, 2008 - Fed begins Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility to foster liquidity in the ABCP market and money markets in general.

Sept. 21, 2008 - Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs become bank holding companies, gaining access to Fed's discount window.

Sept. 23, 2008 - Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson urge Congress to approve $700 billion financial bailout fund.

Sept. 29, 2008 - Dow Jones industrial average drops 778 points, its largest ever one-day decline, after the House of Representatives fails to pass bailout bill. The Senate passes the bill on Oct. 1 and the House takes it up again on Oct. 3 and passes it.

Oct. 8, 2008 - Fed, European Central Bank and the central banks of Canada, Britain, Switzerland and Sweden coordinate a global interest rate cut.

Oct. 21, 2008 - Fed announces $600 billion facility to help money markets purchase certificates of deposits and commercial paper.

Oct. 27, 2008 - Fed expands support of commercial paper market with creation of a temporary Commercial Paper Funding Facility to extend liquidity to non-bank issuers of the paper.

Nov. 23, 2008 - Fed, Treasury and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp bail out Citigroup by backing $306 billion in loans and acquiring preferred shares in the bank.

Nov. 25, 2008 - Fed launches first round of quantitative easing, or QE1, with plans to buy up to $500 billion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and $100 billion in housing agency debt.

Dec. 16, 2008 - Fed cuts overnight federal funds rate to between zero and 0.25 percent.

Jan. 16, 2009 - Fed, Treasury and FDIC bail out Bank of America by backing some $118 billion in loans and acquiring stock in the bank.

Feb. 18, 2009 - Fed policymakers add longer-run projections for GDP, unemployment and inflation to their quarterly forecasts, a move seen as effectively establishing informal inflation target.

March 15, 2009 - In interview on CBS's 60 Minutes, Bernanke says he sees "green shoots" of economic revival. It is the first television interview by a sitting Fed chairman in 20 years.

March 18, 2009 - Fed announces it will expand QE1 with additional $750 billion in MBS, $100 billion in housing agency debt and $300 billion in Treasury securities. It also vows for first time to hold short-term rates near zero "for an extended period."

June 2009 - U.S. economic recession ends. The 18-month downturn was the longest and deepest since the Great Depression.

August 2009 - President Barack Obama nominates Bernanke for second term.

October 2009 - U.S. unemployment rate peaks at 10 percent, its highest since 1983.

Jan. 28, 2010 - Senate confirms Bernanke for second term. The 70-30 vote is the weakest endorsement of a chairman in the Fed's 96-year history.

Nov. 3, 2010 - Fed announces second round of quantitative easing, or QE2, totaling $600 billion in longer-term Treasury bonds.

April 27, 2011 - Bernanke holds Fed's first post-meeting news conference.

Aug. 29, 2011 - Fed says plans to keep rates near zero until mid-2013.

Sept. 21, 2011 - Fed announces "Operation Twist," a plan to exchange $400 billion of short-term Treasury bonds on its balance sheet for long-term bonds in an attempt to lower longer-term interest rates.

Jan. 25, 2012 - Fed adopts inflation target, setting 2 percent as the goal. It also says it expects to keep rates near zero through late 2014 and begins publishing policymakers' projections of when they think federal funds rate should rise.

Sept. 13, 2012 - Fed announces third round of quantitative easing, or QE3. It starts by purchasing $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities per month and says it will continue to reinvest principal payments from its holdings.

Dec. 12, 2012 - With Operation Twist expiring at year end, Fed expands QE3 by adding purchases of $45 billion of longer-term Treasuries per month. It also says it expects rates near zero would be appropriate as long as the jobless rate is above 6.5 percent and inflation does not threaten to top 2.5 percent.

June 19, 2013 - Bernanke says Fed expects to begin to wind down QE3 by year end and bring it to full halt by mid-2014.

Sept. 18, 2013 - Bernanke says the U.S. economy is not yet strong enough to begin reducing the bond buying, confounding markets which had been betting on a decision to taper the purchases.

Oct. 9, 2013 - Obama nominates Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen to replace Bernanke.

Dec. 18, 2013 - Fed announces plan to reduce monthly bond buying to $75 billion from $85 billion. Bernanke says Fed would likely continue to cut the program at a "measured" pace through 2014, winding it down completely by late in the year.

Jan. 29, 2014 - Fed decides to further reduce its monthly bond purchases by $10 billion, to $65 billion. Bernanke adjourns his last policy-setting meeting without making any changes to the central bank's other main policy plank: a longer-term plan to keep interest rates low for some time to come.