Federal Reserve Acts To Avert A Panic

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The Federal Reserve Board unanimously approved a request by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to decrease the primary credit rate from 3-1/2 percent to 3-1/4 percent. The Fed also authorized the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to create a lending facility to improve the ability of primary dealers to provide financing to participants in securitization markets. This facility will be available for business on Monday, March 17. It will be in place for at least six months and may be extended as conditions warrant. Credit extended to primary dealers under this facility may be collateralized by a broad range of investment-grade debt securities. The interest rate charged on such credit will be the same as the primary credit rate, or discount rate, at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

With Bear Stearns (NYSE: BSC) being sold to JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM) Wall St. is certain to be near panic. The 85-year sold investment bank was worth 30 times what it is being sold for less than a weak ago.

The central bank is making certain that financial firms can turn over paper that may be worth well under $1 for $1 worth of capital.

The Fed has become the lender of only as well as last resort.

Douglas A. McIntyre