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 table below provides an overview of all emergency actions covered by this report. 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.
Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden Lane III LLC Balance Sheets from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as of January 29, 2010.
Systemically Significant Failing Institutions (“SSFI”) Program. Under the stated terms of the SSFI program, Treasury invests in systemically significant institutions to prevent their failure and the market disruption that would follow. As of September 30, 2009, Treasury, through SSFI, had made and is committed to make further investments in one institution — American International Group, Inc. (“AIG”). This support was provided through two transactions — $40 billion for the purchase of preferred stock from AIG to repay debt owed to the Federal Reserve and approximately $29.8 billion for an equity capital facility that AIG can draw on as needed. As of September 30, 2009, AIG had drawn down $3.2 billion in equity from the capital facility. See the “Systemically Significant Failing Institutions” portion of this section for a more detailed discussion of the AIG transactions.
Systemic risk is the risk imposed by inter-linkages and interdependencies in a system or market, which could potentially bankrupt or bring down the entire system or market if one player is eliminated, or a cluster of failures occurs at once. Systemic financial risk occurs when contingency plans that are developed individually to address selected risks are collectively incompatible. It is the quintessential “knee bone is connected to the thigh bone…” where every element that once appeared independent is connected with every other element.
By itself, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (“TARP”) is a huge program at $700 billion. As discussed in SIGTARP’s April Quarterly Report, the total financial exposure of TARP and TARP-related programs may reach approximately $3 trillion. Although large in its own right, TARP is only a part of the combined efforts of the Federal Government to address the financial crisis.