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Alan Grayson: Which Foreign Banks Got The Fed's $500 Billion? - Bernanke: I Have No Idea

Video - Grayson and Bernanke - July 22, 2009

Given the dollar free-for-all announced this week for European banks, this short clip helps explain how the liquidity swaps will work.


Here's an update from Bloomberg...

Former prosecutor, Alan Grayson wants details on the $553 billion in foreign central bank liquidity swaps that were issued last Fall in response to the global financial crisis.  These swaps grew from $24 billion at end of 2007 to $553 billion at the end of 2008.

Specifically, Grayson wants to know who got it, how much they got, whether it is constitutional, why Congress was not consulted, and whether these swaps contributed to the near 30% concomitant rise in the U.S. Dollar?  From Bernanke's testimony this morning before the House Financial Services Committee, I have transcribed the following exchange:

Grayson: "What's that (the $553 billion)?"

B-52: "Those are swaps that were done with foreign central banks..."

Grayson: "So who got the money?"

B-52: "Financial institutions in Europe and other countries..."

Grayson: "Which ones?"

B-52: "I don't know."

Grayson: "Half a trillion dollars and you don't know who got the money?"

B-52: "Um, um, the loans go to the central banks and they then put them out to their institutions..."

Grayson: "Let's start with which central banks?"

B-52: "Well there's 14 of them...I'm sure they're listed in here somewhere."

Grayson: "Who actually made that decision to hand out half a trillion dollars?"

B-52: "The FOMC."

Grayson: "Under what legal authority?"

B-52: "Section 14 of the Federal Reserve Act..."

There's much more (I only transcribed a portion of the first 90 seconds).


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Reader Comments (43)

Is anyone here smart enough to know what the swaps are really for, or could be for? (Come on, show off for us.)

Seems I remember some conspiracy nut hatch somewhere saying the swaps were part of a coming global bailout or something -- or does that involve the IMF? (I'm sure you've all read what horrible shape some of the Swiss, Austrian, and Irish banks are in -- more bailouts coming their way, but will the Fed be involved?)
Jul 21, 2009 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames H
It is insurance against a debt default.

Jul 21, 2009 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered Commentergobias bluth

I only wish I believed him. Do you?

4/6/09 -- He then lowered his voice: "It is true, as my Italian friend has said, that the crisis began in the US. I take responsibility, even if I wasn't even president at the time." And he underscored how important it is for him "that we now genuinely make progress. Thank you." Applause.


7/21/09 -- "I love these folks who helped get us in this mess and then suddenly say, 'Well, this is Obama's economy,'" the president said, pointedly deviating from his prepared text. "That's fine. Give it to me!"

Jul 21, 2009 at 5:31 PM | Unregistered Commentergobias bluth

I guess you're answering my question, but I'm talking abou the currency swaps Bernanke was talking about with Grayson (not credit default swaps).

And no, I don't believe Obama at all. The Great Bloviator is pretty darn good at saying things that you want to hear, you think he gets it -- he even says "Hey, I get it" and "Let me be clear." But he doesn't, and he isn't. Smoke, smoke, mirrors and more smoke. (Do you think he still smokes?). The only difference between him and President Cheney is that everyone knew Cheney was an evil, murderous, chicken-hawk bastard. With Obama, you almost want to like the guy (well, some of us do).
Jul 21, 2009 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames H

Here are 2 good links n Fed (central bank) Currency Swaps:


And here's a 2nd:


Hope this helps.
Jul 21, 2009 at 10:23 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Awesome. Thanks for the links.
Jul 21, 2009 at 11:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames H

That is some scary $#!t! Thanks for the links. Let's hope the Fed unwinds those swaps before those $500 billion in outstanding swaps translates into another $5 trillion of foreign denominated debt if the dollar does lose 9/10 of its value against the exchanged foreign currencies as a commenter noted in the second article.
Jul 22, 2009 at 12:43 AM | Unregistered Commenterspideydouble

Yeah these swaps deserve watching...it would be helpful to know which individual banks got the funds from the ECB and other Central Banks.

If we're talking about banks in Greece, Spain, or eastern europe, then there is a real fear those loans will not be repaid.

The Central Banks of those nations would then be on the hook for their end of the swap.
Jul 22, 2009 at 1:13 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Ya know I love kids......BUT...... them telling me playing in the street is just fine...does NOT make it so. I can't think of why B-52 Ben would NOT want a consumer watch dog over credit cards and consumer lending...Unless, he is in with the banks on continuing to rip off consumers .....AB
Jul 22, 2009 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterAin't Bullshittin'

I also am unsure about this...why in the hell would you be against the Consumer Financial Protection Agency unless you are a bank...the FED will be hurt by their opposition to this new legislation, imo.

Also, fwiw, this is now the lead story on Patrick.net tonight.
Jul 23, 2009 at 3:41 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Currency Swaps - when the crisis hit there was a great demand world wide for dollars. The dollar is the world's reserve currency and many of the world’s short term liabilities are issued in dollars. As the debt pyramid began collapsing, financial institutions around the world were pulling short term lending lines - which meant the borrower needed to pay them back. Of course, since the liabilities were issued in dollars, the borrowers needed to pay them back in dollars. Also, many foreign investors wanted out of their foreign currency and into the dollar, because they perceived their hometown banks in bad shape and vulnerable. There simply was not enough dollars at the foreign banks to accommodate the demand. So what happens when there is more demand than supply; the price goes up. The price of money is the interest rate, but also can be reflected in foreign exchange rates (George Soros who was short the dollar, realized this early on and then went long the dollar for a profit as he correctly saw the dollar strength of 2008 a “symptom of the sickness” in the global banking system). Bernanke’s job is to keep the game of musical chairs going as long as possible, so he was willing to flood foreign central banks with dollars through unprecedented swap lines. Those foreign central banks then auctioned the dollars off to foreign commercial banks – who then loaned them out or otherwise provided liquidity to meet demand. The foreign central banks are on the hook, but they can’t print dollars and these swap lines will likely continue to be rolled for the foreseeable future at the 2008 exchange rate. There is no doubt that the short term pain would have been far greater without these swap lines, but the in the long run the Fed continues to retard market forces, add complexity, and string along a broken system. Hope this helps.
Jul 23, 2009 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterTC
Ive been following the ECB use of these forex swaps since last fall. Their use has lessened since the height of the crisis last fall. I think this facility prevented a "Dollar Spike" that the Fed and ECB wanted to avoid.
Here is how much the ECB drew over some months:

Totals of all outstanding auctions (3 maturities):
$212B as of Nov 18
$224B as of Nov 20
$236.5 as of Nov 28
$294B as of Dec 2
$267B as of Dec 10
$262B as of Dec 16
$246B as of Dec 17
$257B as of Dec 23
$254B as of Dec 30
$237B as of Jan 7
$227B as of Jan 15
$229B as of Jan 22
$186B as of Jan 27
$179B as of Feb 9
$190B as of Feb 11
$186B as of Feb 19
$135B as of Feb 24
$144B as of Feb 25
$145B as of Mar 5
$152B as of March 11
$150B as of March 18
$165B as of March 26
$164B as of April 1
$167B as of April 7
$151B as of April 8
$129B as of April 22
$129B as of April 30
$56.9 as of July 2

Perhaps the Fed has prodded the ECB into winding down the use of these swaps as they are supposed to be temporary.
The ECB/Fed are charging in excess of 1% rate for 1 week US$ while published 3 mo. US$ LIBOR is around 0.5%. Sort of a penalty rate now, begs question of why would a Euro institution still be using this facility?

the congressmans inquisition would have been more timely if he brought this up 8 months ago....better late than never.

Jul 23, 2009 at 6:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMatt Franko
I am trying very hard to understand why no one has been charged with and executed for high treason. But it's obvious we do not have enough rope to hang those involved. That's the only reasonable explanation.
Jul 23, 2009 at 7:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterNewHamp
I like to see Mr Grayson question Bernanke for another 2 hours. You can't get anything answered in 5 minutes.
Jul 23, 2009 at 9:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJAP
"The ECB/Fed are charging in excess of 1% rate for 1 week US$ while published 3 mo. US$ LIBOR is around 0.5%. Sort of a penalty rate now, begs question of why would a Euro institution still be using this facility?"

Good question. In the spirit of constructive paranoia, does this suggest that the LIBOR as published bears little relation to actual rates? I would almost be willing to believe that this has something to do with the looming banking issues in Europe, but in that case why would they wind down the swaps? I don't remember how high the LIBOR was 6 or 5 months ago, but at one point wasn't 1% a discount to the LIBOR?
Jul 23, 2009 at 11:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames H
Too bad Grayson doesn't know how to cross examine. It's also too bad that he's a socialist who, if he understood what he was doing, would not support Ron Paul's bill.
Jul 24, 2009 at 7:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrutus
@ Brutus

What, so he could be a fascist instead? Go troll somewhere else.
Jul 24, 2009 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterspideydouble
@ Brutus

Also, not sure I get this point :

"...if he understood what he was doing, would not support Ron Paul's bill. "

Are you saying he's undermining the Democratic playbook by calling for a Fed audit?

Regardless of your views on him, how can you not regard him as an anti-bailout leader?
Jul 24, 2009 at 5:00 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
@Matt Franco.

Excellent contribution, thanks. FWIW, everyone's comments here have been read by Congressman Grayson. He wrote a story about this video and mentioned (and gave the link) to our coverage of the hearing and questioning and mentioned he enjoyed reading the coverage and comments.

So if you have any messages for Rep. Grayson, you can add them to the comments here.

I still believe the key issue here is the safety of the swaps and the issue of their repayment....and it's difficult to make any determination because we don't know which individual banks received them.
Jul 25, 2009 at 7:42 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Nothing really to add, as these currency swaps are completely foreign to me.

If Rep. Grayson is indeed reading these comments, great job man! We love what you are doing and regard you as an anti-bailout leader. I wish my own congressmen didn't sell out on the bailout by flip-flopping after Senate rubber stamped that abomination. It has been refreshing to see you on so many MSM news outlets speaking the truth. Keep up your youtube video updates. They are fantastic. You are getting the word out there.
Jul 25, 2009 at 9:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterspideydouble

Great comments...not that you doubted us but here is the grayson guest column on naked capitalism where he mentions several aticlesw about his testimony, including ours....


I could be completely wrong, but his article on NC smelled like it was written by one of his LAs who is a former blogger, no idea of his name...but either way, the blogosphere noise is being picked up in DC...peace out...
Jul 26, 2009 at 5:06 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Another great post and comments DB & Co.

Sorry to be off-topic, but did anybody else notice the guy on the left sound asleep?
Jul 27, 2009 at 12:22 AM | Unregistered Commentermark mchugh
I'll try to find out more on this, but if Grayson's staff is still reading comments here, they might want to investigate the possibility that the foreign central bank swaps are for the purposes of propping up the Treasury market. Notice, too, that the Treasury has changed the criteria by which it reports "indirect" bids (formerly an indication of foreign interest in our bonds) so that it is well-nigh impossible to determine the level of foreign interest in our debt. Some analysts suspect that the currency swaps with foreign central banks are part of a Treasury monetization scheme. Is this just a "conspiracy theory"? Without full transparency at the Federal Reserve, we have no way of knowing -- and if the Fed sets off a currency crisis, th last to know will be ordinary Americans with savings accounts in dollars.
Jul 30, 2009 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames H
"Some analysts suspect that the currency swaps with foreign central banks are part of a Treasury monetization scheme. Is this just a "conspiracy theory"? Without full transparency at the Federal Reserve, we have no way of knowing -- and if the Fed sets off a currency crisis, th last to know will be ordinary Americans with savings accounts in dollars."

@ James

I honestly do not believe the Fed wants to monetize the debt, despite their quantitative easing. I've heard Bernanke discuss it enough and Richard Fisher, a severe hawk, also talk about the issue.

I think there was a massive demand for dollar reserves at the height of the crisis, and the Fed was just greasing the wheel. The dollar would have spiked even more dramatically had these swaps not been in place which would have then inevitably led to a dollar collapse right about now as the fear is finally fading and demand for riskier currencies is returning.
Jul 31, 2009 at 7:10 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
"Is anyone here smart enough to know what the swaps are really for, or could be for? (Come on, show off for us.)"

They're for entertainment purpose only.

You see you take a swap and you place it under half a walnut shell. Then you take two other empty half walnut shells and you SWAP them around & around after which the investor has to uncover where the SWAP is. Obviuosly they'll NEVER find it because it's up your sleeve by then!


Tomorrow: an in-depth explanation of Reverse Forward Split Derivatives ..and their effects on proper bowel movements.
Oct 16, 2009 at 11:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterGoKaptur!
Geithner and Bernanke (both members of Hillary’s shadow government) continue their insane orgy of spending and looting our economy for their cronies and special interests.

If Hillary’s puppets, Barack Obama and Kathleen Sebelius, sincerely wanted to lower unemployment (9.5%) and underemployment (18%), they could do, oh so easily:

• Repeal Obamacare post haste….why spend a trillion dollars to buy health care for the 32 million Americans who are currently receiving it for free?

• Give current Medicaid and Medicare recipients vouchers and let them purchase whatever health insurance fits their needs…this would cut the cost of these corrupt programs by an amazing 70%

• Sell all government hospitals…Army, Navy, Air Force, VA, US Public Health Service…sell all the government hospitals to the highest bidder…and instead, give this group of patients vouchers and let them buy with the vouchers, whatever health insurance that fits their needs….many of these patients would end up using the same hospitals, doctors and nurses… but for all parties, on a happier, more polite, more professional, outcome orientated, fee for service basis

• Issue a federal mandate that would allow patients to cross state lines, in order to purchase (more competitive) health insurance….in other words break up those cozy BCBS monopolies like the (BCBS) scam that Sebelius and her trial lawyer cronies ran in Kansas, for years and years.

Do these things and bingo, our economy rights itself almost overnight. But continue as Hillary’s shadow government, including Geithner and Bernanke….continue as Hillary’s Marxists have been manipulating us, and we will continue our national slide into the dark abyss.

To learn more about Sebelius’ role in Hillary’s corrupt shadow government go to www.sebeliuscoverups.com or just search:
George Meredith MD Comments

George Meredith MD
Virginia Beach
Nov 7, 2010 at 1:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Meredith MD
at :50, Bernake starts to explain that lending greenbacks to foreign central banks would result in stable/lower interest rates.

Is that an ignoble goal?
Dec 1, 2010 at 7:37 PM | Unregistered Commentersteve
no the goal is fine....the problem is the execution and the lack of transparency until today...now 2 years later...i have stories coming on the revelations...
Dec 2, 2010 at 12:42 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Well Grayson is now out of the picture. You have to believe if was all a ruse since Grayson was up for reelection. I don't trust Grayson anymore more than Bernanke. They are all crooks, and the video is just more propaganda.

Sorry to be off-topic, but I know there was an article related to a bank run being orchestrated for 12-7 or so. Here is an article that brings a different perspective.

Dec 2, 2010 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterDOGISMYTH

no one is clean...hard to completely trust any politician...but i applaud positive effort where i see it...and grayson fought the good fight against the fed...
Dec 2, 2010 at 4:44 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Dec 2, 2010 at 4:45 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
… should burn their house to the ground and let the FED bail out your hazard insurer. How’s that for cleaning up “excess supply” you FUCKERS!

Why not? We’re on the hook for GLOBAL securities fraud, courtesy of the Federal Reserve House of Rothschild, just like we explained nearly 2 years ago, with the AIG pass through bailout of the default swaps on those same securities. The link above shows you the depth of the fraudulent equity you bailed out on worthless mortgage backed securities … on behalf of the FEDs largesse.

And as home values continue to collapse, including ours, we will continue to bail out the difference on those fraudulent valuations. We will bail it out through the fine work of Erskine and Bowles deficit commission, and their fascist austerity regimen, which includes robbing the social security account you paid into your entire working life — for starters.

The banks get to claim those false valuations on their spreadsheets, and extort big bonuses against that fraudulent equity “profit”, while taxpayers bailout their collapse. And the same banks betting the other way on that collapse (acting as counterparty’s) get bailed out yet again.

But when WE, the homeowner (who gave NO permission to use our loan instruments as a betting chips in the FED’s laundered equity swindle) are rated for creditworthiness, where is OUR equity?

When we go to sell our home for 30% less than it was deemed to be worth in 2006, where is that long line of buyers beating the door down like black Friday to bid on such a GREAT DEAL as that?

If your mortgage servicer sent Guido to your doorstep - to hold a gun to your head – would you agree to turn over 30% of your principle in cash, or just have them add that to the note?

Or would you just respond “whatever” so as to not miss another moment of Jersey Shores?


great post wil...enjoyed it...
Dec 2, 2010 at 4:46 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
This ain't gonna be free: the state guvmint is kickin' in $37 million in tax incentives to help a gang of Bible-totin' theocrats build a fancy Disneyland for ignoramuses. This is what it's gonna look like, they think:


Read this one...wow...
Dec 2, 2010 at 4:47 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
"Read this one...wow... "

That is really a smoke screen, the Ark is really to take the elite down the river de Nile on their government sponsored Exodus from the plagues and pestilences the created.
Dec 2, 2010 at 9:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterS. Gompers

I understand your desire to have an "insider" like Grayson to provide revelations, but those that do not participate properly are disposed of including Wellstone, JFK, Bono...to name a few. Ever heard of good cop bad cop? These politicians are masters at acting and law. And if you knew the truth about our government and why it exists, you would be appalled!

Once again, I leave these three links to documents that reveal some of the most amazing truths that are unknown to 95% of Americans. Before a problem can be solved, you must have all the facts and the correct perspective. Good day!

Dec 3, 2010 at 12:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterDOGISMYTH

i worked on capitol hill 2 decades ago (in Congress) in my 20s...i've seen more than you can imagine...i have many friends who remain staffers...others who have ventured from staff into lobbying...my eyes are wide open...i examine all stories looking for truth...not sure what you are implying about grayson...i could care less about him politically or that he's gone from congress...if it were a rhesus monkey going after donald kohn and bernanke, i would glorify the rhesus monkey...know what I'm saying...

in this battle against the dark side, we will utilize anyone who even briefly fights for what is good...
Dec 3, 2010 at 1:11 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
I understand DailyBail. Fair enough. And as a rule of measure, we shall observe the efficacy of Ron Paul in his new position of Chairman of the Monetary Policy Subcommittee (still tentative). Will Ron Paul be as brave and patriotic as McFadden?

But still.....read the documents. What is contained within the documents are what everyone on Capitol Hills knows, and most of us do not.
Dec 3, 2010 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterDOGISMYTH
Marion Jones got six months hard time for lying to the government, how much jail time will Ben Bernanke get?

Is it worse to lie about taking steriods or lying about over $3 trillion dollars in near free money to just about anyone who wanted it.

Ben Bernanke is a criminal and is guilty of treason.
Dec 4, 2010 at 6:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Patmos
in this battle against the dark side, we will utilize anyone who even briefly fights for what is good...

"WoW" DB, more true'r words if thAre ever was.......we need anyone, Anybody, Someone, why I'ed evan like to see our #-1 man put on the Darth-Vader helment on and pick up his Light-Wand...?

At this point, how could it get any darker ?
Dec 4, 2010 at 9:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterTexas Dar
Wow...could it be that Fed Reserve banking industry is transferring money overseas in case of failure (bankruptcy)? Someone should investigate whether or not those "14 central banks" are really lending out the money (or just holding it). Transferring assets in expectation of bankruptcy is a fraudulent maneuver, isn't it?

I feel sorry for the people of New Zealand (or any other country) who may take loans from those "borrower" banks - rape of yet more people who will be labeled deadbeats - isn't enough to rape the American people, the Fed wants to take it worldwide! Who is the beneficiary of all this "money"?
Jan 25, 2011 at 12:30 AM | Unregistered Commentersimon l
Is it only I that can feel the winds blowing and all the changes from deep within, is it only I that can feel the earth shaking, the hot sun baking all the earth to dry crust from moisture's waters to dust, is it only I or can you also feel all the changes too.

The changes, there comein down hard on you and me, my heart just can't take it, I wonder about the children and those yet to experience birth and wonder how for them this world will be.

I feel for us as well, more deeply so, for were acting as if life had no worth or meaning, oh but how much more so "it doe's"
Just look around and fill your cup, fill it till it's full, full of all the meaningful things you deeply feel, let it run over, let it spell into the hearts as nourishing drink for all mankind, earth and for the children as well.

Oh say can't ya see what were doing to the memory of all those who fought and died for you and me so that we could have a life that had true meaning, something to honor and hold, oh say can't you see life was never meant to be a wholesale market place.
Say you can't see, go ahead and sell yourself that lie.
That lie, that lays deep within that say;s, no I don't see, I really just don't understand and I'll say...
You lie, you lie, you lie, and how ya wanna sell your lie too me.

After all this time that you dreamed and schemed on how someday that lie would pay big dividends.
Now that you see your lie really has no worth, you want to wholesale your lie to me .
Lying on a wholesale scale, come and get the lie before it's to late.

Come get your phony shallows worth of lie's, buy into what you deeply know that ain't
Wholesale mankind's heart, go ahead, sell it off piece by piece until it's torn all a part.

We have Wall Street players standing side by side,
yes we have Wall Street marching to the drum in step with the bull market beat, hedging the funds, while marketeers go out into the small towns of this country, to sell yet another one, oh see how all the bull market boys are playing with our money, while having fun.

The markets down, with no one left to trust, and here you and I are left lurching in the dust and yet with that were advised to invest and save a dime while the wall street gang hedge our funds for more money to them make come.
They tell us all is good, all is calm, even if all are working for next to nothing,no reason to sound the alarm.

Were like marching ants in and out the merchants doors looking for all the bargains, reading the signs that say "discount", look! were in heaven we saved a dime, not a life however that slaved for the item in hand, but we saved a dime!
Cheep labor is a must for markets to rise, go not hear, for these Americans ask far way to much.
Go to some far off land, where slave labor can be controlled ,while the bull market boys beat the Wall Street drum,
look out shoppers cause here we come.
Were coming to a city near you,
too a small town, look! another small town going down.

Oh happy days are here again, there here again, and you lie, you lie, you lie.
Not only I, but my children and their children and theirs to come will be working twice as hard to pay the debt which the Wall Street boys sold to you and I.

We trusted and this is what we got, oh my Lord is it not too late to turn the tide, tell us how rough the the ride will be, and what it is we must now do if were to survive.
Do we continue to trust as we have, or do we now stand as the creation of man, that which we were made too be.
Let us now begin and tell them we know they lied, and that we refuse to be lied to ever again.

Richard Bastian
Feb 14, 2011 at 6:26 PM | Unregistered Commenternewscruzer1
problem i see is it is all talk no one is doing anything about it ,if i were handling someone else's money,and gave it to some one ,and then told him after being asked the question were did it go and who did you give it to, and i said i didn't know .i think ,I'm not sure but i think no i,m sure i would be fired. fired on the spot .like clear out your desk ,ah. make sure you take everything because you won,t be welcome back here .and i do think there would be some legal repercussions too don,t quote me on this but i think i would be looking for a very good lawyer .just for the fact they he might be able to reduce my jail sentence .this is the problem people there not being held accountable .the same people running it before are the same people running it now .some out in the open some behind the scenes or schemes i should say , when are we going to demand that some heads roll on this .are they better than us or just plain arrogant .or believe there above the law seems to me no one is even willing to make this determination or they just know ,what side there bread is buttered on ..come on congress grows some balls .
Apr 27, 2011 at 1:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterIKe1952

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