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March 5, 2014

Bernanke says Fed could have done more during crisis

(Reuters) – “Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the U.S. central bank could have done more to fight the country’s financial crisis and that he struggled to find the right way to communicate with markets.”

“‘We could have done some things on the margin to mitigate somewhat the crisis,’ Bernanke, 60, said on Tuesday in his first public speaking engagement since he stepped down in January after eight years heading the Fed.”

“‘Although we have been very aggressive, I think on the monetary policy front we could have been even more aggressive.’”

“Bernanke said he could now speak more freely about the crisis than he could while at the Fed – “I can say whatever I want” – and in remarks to over 1,000 bankers and financial professionals in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, he made clear that he had regrets.”

“The United States became ‘overconfident’, he said of the period before the September 2008 collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers. That triggered a crash from which parts of the world, including the U.S. economy, have not fully recovered.”

“‘This is going to sound very obvious but the first thing we learned is that the U.S. is not invulnerable to financial crises,’ Bernanke said.”

As the Fed provided tens of billions of dollars of emergency aid to the U.S. financial system, Bernanke said he felt the central bank was in a “terrible” political situation because it could be accused of bailing out institutions unfairly.”

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Read full Reuters article here.

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