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The Daily Need

Fed belatedly discloses top ‘discount window’ borrowers

A lawyer for the Federal Reserve dropped off CD-ROMs containing nearly 25,000 pages of previously undisclosed loan documents at the Washington, D.C., office of Bloomberg News this morning, marking the end of a three-year struggle to compel the Fed to disclose exactly who borrowed from its “discount window” during the financial crisis.

In April and May 2008, Bloomberg reporters filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the Fed asking for details on who received loans during the crisis. What followed was more than two years of litigation between Bloomberg, the Fed and a group of the nation’s biggest banks, culminating in the Supreme Court rejecting an appeal from those banks and forcing the Fed to make today’s disclosure.

Last September, Alison Stewart sat down with one of those Bloomberg reporters, Bob Ivry, to talk about trying to uncover the true cost of the Fed’s actions throughout the crisis.

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

The Dodd-Frank Financial Reform legislation last year required nearly $3.3 trillion in emergency lending by the Fed during the crisis to be revealed, but exempted this discount window lending. As Bloomberg points out, “The records released today represent the only public source of details on discount window lending during the crisis.”

Bloomberg and others have started digging into the documents, but they have also made the raw files — 129 MB zip file — available to the public.