The Washington Post and ProPublica Examine Timothy Geithner’s Oversight of the New York Fed
In-depth look at warnings of banking system risks before the credit crisis and the limits of Geithner’s response
WASHINGTON—April 3, 2009—A joint examination by The Washington Post and ProPublica takes an in-depth look at Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s tenure as the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The examination explains how the Fed under Geithner fell short in efforts, including some he led, to protect the financial system against identified weaknesses.
According to interviews and documents reviewed by The Post‘s Pulitzer finalist Robert O’Harrow and ProPublica’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Jeff Gerth, Geithner repeatedly raised concerns about the failure of banks to understand their risks during the boom, but he did not act with enough force to blunt the troubles that ensued.
Though the Federal Reserve system, and the New York Fed in particular, was responsible for keeping an eye out for system-wide risks, Geithner said in an interview that the Fed was limited by a lack of explicit authority over financial institutions outside the banking system. Although critics have questioned how he used existing power before the crisis, Geithner, as Secretary of the Treasury, now leads the push for the biggest expansion of financial regulation since the Great Depression.
This article is available now online at www.washingtonpost.com/geithner and at http://www.propublica.org/feature/geithner-nyfed-tenure.
An interactive timeline plots when Geithner was meeting with Citigroup executives during 2007-2008, when he was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and chief regulator for the bank, which saw its financial fortunes plummet during the period. The timeline is available at http://www.propublica.org/special/timeplot-geithner.
“Washington Post Investigations” is the online home for exclusive, in-depth, investigative reporting with a comprehensive archive of up-to-date information on the status of every major Washington Post investigation in recent years. URL: www.washingtonpost.com/investigations.
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Shani George, Washington Post Media
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Mike Webb, ProPublica
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