Washington Mutual , the struggling savings and loan, has also put itself up for auction.
And Lloyds TSB sealed a rescue takeover of HBOS to create a dominant British mortgage and savings bank in a $22 billion deal helped through by the government.
The concerted action by central banks follows Wednesday's rout in financial markets, roiled by fears of more Wall Steet failures after a week that saw Lehman Brothers file for bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch lose its independence and a $85 billion U.S. government bailout of insurance giant AIG.
AIG, a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, will be replaced by Kraft Foods, it was announced Thursday.
Meanwhile, U.S. asset manager Putnam Investments said it had closed its $15 billion Prime Money Market Funddue to redemption pressures. That followed Tuesday's news that another big money-market fund, Reserve Primary Fund, fell below $1 a share in net asset value.
Nervous investors are scrambling into U.S. Treasuries, sending yields on one-month paper to just 0.010 percent, while three-month rates traded as low as 0.020 percent, the lowest since at least 1954.
Meanwhile, the Volatility Index, Wall Street's main barometer of investor fear, closed at levels not seen since late 2002.
“We’re just advising clients to hold it out,” said Patrick DeMay, operations manager at Carver Financial Serivces. “The biggest insurance companies and broker-dealers looking weak doesn’t help. Some of the companies being brought down in stock values are actually very stable companies but the confidence has eroded for entire sectors, sometimes not rightfully so.”
—Reuters contributed to this report.