WASHINGTON – Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and European banks RBS and UBS were the biggest beneficiaries of very short-term Federal Reserve loans extended at the height of the financial crisis, according to data released on Wednesday.
The details of the lending program were disclosed after a lengthy legal battle eventually won by Bloomberg News LLP. The data, available on the Fed’s website, showed Goldman took $15 billion in exchange for securities ranging from Treasuries to mortgage bonds. Swiss-based UBS AG (UBSN.VX), UK-based RBS Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) and Lehman took $10 billion each.
The program worked as an emergency lending facility for large primary dealer banks that deal directly with the Fed.
It lengthened the window for so-called open market operations, overnight loans used by the central bank in the conduct of monetary policy, to as many as 28 days.
The facility was launched in March 2008, just as Bear Stearns was about to become the first major investment bank to require a rescue in what turned into the worst financial meltdown in modern history.