We should almost be there...tomorrow?????
WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said new steps announced by the central bank Sunday should help squeezed financial institutions get cash infusions_ a fresh effort to provide relief to a spreading credit crisis that threatens to plunge the economy into recession.
The central bank approved a cut in its lending rate to financial institutions to 3.25 percent from 3.50 percent, effective immediately, and created another lending facility for big investment banks to secure short-term loans.
"These steps will provide financial institutions with greater assurance of access to funds," Bernanke told reporters in a brief conference call Sunday evening.
The new lending facility will be available to financial institutions on Monday.It will be in place for at least six months and "may be extended as conditions warrant," the Fed said. The interest rate will be 3.25 percent and a range of collateral - including investment-grade mortgage backed securities - will be accepted to back the loans.
The steps are "designed to bolster market liquidity and promote orderly market functioning," the Fed said in a statement. "Liquid well-functioning markets are essential for the promotion of economic growth."