Eye-Bulging Totals

The eye-bulging total amount that PDCF lent to banks is $8.95 trillion.


The Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF) was an overnight lending program set up by the Fed to help banks manage short term liquidity issues during the financial crisis.

The numbers cited here for that program represent the total amount banks received in aggregate—not the amounts outstanding at any point in time. (For example: If a bank tapped the PDCF for a million dollars five days in a row, it would be represented here as $5 million in total borrowing.)

This rollover and reissue effect is one of the reasons why the numbers look so gargantuan.

The other reason is this: The Fed handed out a ton of money.

For example: Morgan Stanley borrowed almost $2 trillion. Citigroup

borrowed a little over $2 trillion. And Merrill Lynch Countrywide Financial Bank of America borrowed nearly $2.8 trillion.

A few quick, closing points.

The numbers here are expressed in billions. So, for example, $.1 = $100 million. $100 = 100 billion. And—most difficult to imagine—when you see a comma, you've crossed into trillion dollar territory. I don't want to belabor this point. However, in the last twenty-four hours I've seen very smart people misstate figures— by three orders of magnitude— because the numbers are so difficult to fathom.

Also, I've seen individual bank's borrowing misstated—understated, in fact—by other news outlets. This appears to be because not everyone remembered to rollup all of the subsidiary holding companies to get the total cumulative borrowing figure. (For example, "Goldman, Sachs & Co." and "Goldman, Sachs & Co.-London" are included in my table under the combined heading "Goldman Sachs [All].)

This misstatement caused by not accounting for ancillary subsidiaries might very well creep up again in other reporting over the next few days. If you're in doubt, and you have some masochistic desire to verify the data yourself: Sum up all the line items, then check to see if they match the total. If they don't, the ancillary subsidiaries have likely been neglected.


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