Timothy Geithner allegations beg Fed reform: James Saft
Specifically Congress needs to act to make the lines between the banking industry and the governance of the regional Federal Reserve banks cleaner, guarding against a "we are all boys in this together" attitude and ensuring a diversity of views from outside the financial services industry.
As revealed in transcripts released last week of Fed meetings from 2007, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker said Geithner, now the outgoing Secretary of the Treasury, discussed with banks an upcoming change in the discount rate, a move which proved highly price sensitive when it was publicly announced.
"From conversations I had prior to the video conference call on August 16, 2007, I was aware of discussions among a few large banks about borrowing from their discount windows to support the asset backed commercial paper market," Lacker said in the statement.
"My understanding was that President Geithner had discussed a reduction in the discount rate with these banks in connection with these initiatives."
Qualified banks can borrow from the Fed at the so-called discount window at the discount rate.
The Treasury has declined to comment beyond the transcripts, in which Geithner replied at the time about his discussions with banks:
"The only thing I've done is to try to help them understand - and I'm sure that's been
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