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Did Fed Really Lend $9 Trillion Under Its Primary Dealer Credit Facility?
CNBC.com | December 01, 2010 | 01:13 PM EST

Although the Federal Reserve made loans totaling $8.95 trillion to primary dealers in exchange for a wide range of collateral under its Primary Dealer Credit Facility, the size of the facility was likely never more than a fraction of that amount.

Beginning in March of 2008, the Fed undertook 1,376 transactions under the facility, with loans ranging from a $10 million to nearly $48 billion. The largest single loan went to Barclays Capital on September 18, 2008—the day after Barclays agreed to buy Lehman Brothers.

The biggest borrowers were Citigroup , Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley , each receiving loans that total more than $1 trillion.

Although the total numbers appear very large, the Fed never had anywhere near $8.95 trillion of loans outstanding under the program. The loans made under the PDCF were overnight loans, which were rapidly repaid or rolled over into new loans. This inflates the total number because the Fed counts each roll-over as a new loan.

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