Whatever it takes

There is a lot going on but this is worth noting. Under old school banking, one of the functions of the central bank is to stand ready to be the Lender of Last Resort to the banks.

Matt Levine’s Bloomberg column today covered a fairly radical extension of this 19 century banking principle with the Fed now creating the capacity to lend directly to business. There are reasons why the US market needs to consider unconventional solutions outside the banking system (big companies in the US tend to be less reliant on bank intermediated finance than is the case in Australia and Europe) but this is still something to note and watch.

Also worth reading John Cochrane’s “The Grumpy Economist” blog which goes into some of the mechanics. Matt Levine’s editor titled his column as “Companies can borrow from the Fed now”. I am not sure how much difference it takes in practice but John makes the point that technically it is the US Treasury doing the lending, not the Fed.

Interesting times