Journalism in the Public Interest

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 and at

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

“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:

About The Washington Post (
The Washington Post provides award-winning news and understanding about the politics, policies, personalities and institutions that make Washington, D.C. the world’s seat of power, and is a critical tool and information source for those who call Washington, D.C. home. In digital form, The Washington Post combines its world-class journalism with the latest technology and tools, and encourages participation and customization across all platforms so readers can engage with The Washington Post anytime, anywhere. The Washington Post is owned by The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO), a diversified education and media company.

About ProPublica (
ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Working with the largest news staff in American journalism devoted solely to investigative reporting, ProPublica is supported entirely by philanthropy and will provide the articles it produces, free of charge, both through its own web site and to leading news organizations selected with an eye toward maximizing the impact of each article. 

Media Contact:

Shani George, Washington Post Media
(202) 334 9207 /

Mike Webb, ProPublica
(917) 512 0233 /


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