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Federal Reserve Balance Sheet

Data File: 
Who: 
Fed
Maximum Amount: 
> $5,962.76 billion
Amount Spent: 
$3,085.10 billion


In recent months, the Federal Reserve has taken a number of unprecedented steps to stabilize the economy, going well beyond conventional monetary policy. In addition to reducing interest rates dramatically, as it would during a normal recession, the Federal Reserve has more than doubled the size of its balance sheet in order to provide liquidity to the financial system.

In particular, the Federal Reserve has created a number of new credit facilities designed to unclog the flow of credit, has undertaken a large scale purchase of assets, and has attempted to stabilize several systemically critical institutions through a combinations of loans, asset purchases, and guarantees.

These actions have not only resulted in an expanded balance sheet – from less than $1 trillion before the crisis to over $2 trillion today – but also a change in the composition. Whereas traditional holdings used to dominate the balance sheet, lending to financial institutions ballooned beginning in September of 2008. As these loans have shrunk, somewhat, they have been replaced with funds to provide liquidity to credit markets, the purchase of debts and assets from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the purchase of long-term treasury bonds.

 

Notes: 

Maximum amount calculated by subtracting all amounts spent from the current size of the balance sheet, then adding all associated maximum amounts in the table. Amount Spent reflects the current size of the Federal Reserve Balance Sheet as of 3/6/2013. Activities of the Federal Reserve are not directly recorded in the federal budget.  However, each year the Federal Reserve remits a portion of its earnings to the general treasury.  This remittance is generally in the range of $20-$30 billion per year, but the CBO estimates that the Fed's earnings will be lower by approximately $90 billion over the next ten years.