Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) tapped the Federal Reserve’s discount window at least five times since September 2008, according to central bank data that contradict an executive’s testimony last year.
Goldman Sachs Bank USA, a unit of the company, took overnight loans from the Federal Reserve on Sept. 23, Oct. 1, and Oct. 23 in 2008 as well as on Sept. 9, 2009, and Jan. 11, 2010, according to the data released today. The largest loan was $50 million on Sept. 23 and the smallest was $1 million on the most recent two occasions.
Goldman Sachs President and Chief Operating Officer Gary D. Cohn told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission June 30 that “we used it one night at the request of the Fed to make sure our systems were linked with their systems, and it was for a de minimis amount of money.” Peter J. Wallison, a member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, then asked, “you never had to use it after that?”
“No, and as I said, we used it on the Fed’s request,” Cohn replied.
The amounts are dwarfed by Goldman Sachs’s overall balance sheet, which was $911 billion at the end of 2010, and by other banks’ borrowing throughout the financial crisis. Dexia SA, the lender based in Brussels and Paris, drew $31.5 billion on one day as total weekly borrowing reached a record in October 2008.
“During the crisis, we tested our systems, including accessing the discount window; the amounts involved were de minimis, and the testing was routine,” Michael DuVally, a spokesman for New York-based Goldman Sachs, said today in an e- mailed statement. “The fact that we tested the system to insure our procedures worked smoothly was made known to senior executives. Routine tests thereafter were considered part of the normal course of business.”
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley (MS) were the largest and second-largest U.S. securities firms until Sept. 21, 2008, when they both won the Federal Reserve’s approval to convert to bank holding companies. The conversion took place about a week after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which was then the fourth-biggest securities firm, filed the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Congress assigned the FCIC to determine the causes of the financial crisis. The panel released a report in January, along with a 545-page book.
By Christine Harper, Michael J. Moore and Bob Ivry – Mar 31, 2011: Bloomberg News