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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bernanke confident on recovery; warns on deficit

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress today that he has confidence the unfolding economic recovery will have staying power, although it won’t be strong enough to bring quick relief to high unemployment.

Bernanke: Record-low rates still needed

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress on Wednesday that record-low interest rates are still needed to ensure that the economic recovery will last and to help ease the sting of high unemployment.

Bernanke spells out Fed’s pullback strategy

WASHINGTON – A snowstorm Wednesday didn’t keep Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke from outlining how the central bank might pull back its unprecedented intervention in the U.S. economy. But how exactly the long-awaited exit strategy would be deployed was obscured in a blizzard of ambiguities. “Although at present the U.S. economy continues to require the support of highly accommodative monetary policies, at some point the Federal Reserve will need to tighten financial conditions by raising short-term interest rates and reducing the quantity of bank reserves outstanding,” Bernanke wrote in prepared testimony for a hearing Wednesday by the House Financial Services Committee.

Fed had ‘terrible choices,’ Treasury head testifies

WASHINGTON – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told a hostile congressional committee Wednesday that the only way to rescue the insurance giant American International Group in 2008 was to pay U.S. and foreign banks the full face value of $62 billion in bets on risky securities. Without massive government intervention, AIG would have collapsed, sending the world financial system into ruin, Geithner said.

Fed paid record $46.1B to Treasury last year

The Federal Reserve paid a record $46.1 billion in earnings to the Treasury Department last year, reflecting gains as the central bank bulked up its portfolio of securities to revive the economy and fight the financial crisis.

AIG probe may involve Geithner

WASHINGTON – Lawmakers are preparing to investigate revelations that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, led at the time by Timothy Geithner, pushed for greater secrecy on controversial bailout decisions. Senate and House Republicans called Thursday for hearings to look into e-mails showing that the New York Fed suppressed details about deals that allowed big banks to collect billions from the bailout of insurance conglomerate American International Group Inc.

Fed chief backs power

WASHINGTON – Stronger regulation is the best way to prevent financial speculation from getting out of hand and throwing the economy into a new crisis, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Sunday. But he didn’t rule out higher interest rates to stop new speculative investment bubbles from forming.

Fed floats proposal to curb inflation

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve on Monday proposed allowing banks to set up the equivalent of certificates of deposit at the central bank, a move that would help the Fed mop up money pumped into the economy and prevent inflation from taking off later. Under the proposal, the Fed would offer so-called “term deposits” that would pay interest. Doing so would provide banks with another incentive to park their money at the Fed, rather than having it flow back into the economy.

Panel approves Bernanke

WASHINGTON – A Senate panel on Thursday approved the nomination of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to run the nation’s central bank for another four years. The Senate Banking Committee voted 16-7 to send Bernanke’s nomination to the full Senate for consideration. Approval came after a two-hour debate that heaped both praise and criticism on the Fed chief.

Fed holds rates at record low to fuel recovery

The Federal Reserve has decided to hold interest rates at a record low and pledged to keep them there for an “extended period” to keep the recovery going and drive down double-digit unemployment.

Fed is expected to leave rates at record low

The Federal Reserve is expected to leave interest rates at a record low this week. The big question is whether Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues will hint about when they will reverse course and start boosting rates.

Senator puts block on keeping Bernanke

WASHINGTON – Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., said Wednesday that he will put a hold on the nomination of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke for a second term, a step that could push the confirmation into next year but is unlikely to torpedo it. While Sanders is one of only a few senators who have openly objected to Bernanke’s renomination, the hold reflects the deepening fault lines on Capitol Hill over the Fed’s performance.

Glum outlook on jobs

WASHINGTON – Top Federal Reserve officials expect unemployment to remain elevated for years to come, according to new projections released Tuesday, suggesting that the economic recovery will be too gradual to create rapid improvement in the job market. The unemployment rate will be in the 6.8 percent to 7.5 percent range at the end of 2012, according to forecasts of 17 top Fed officials, down from its 10.2 percent rate in October but still far above the 5 percent or so level typically seen in a healthy economy. Most of the Fed leaders “anticipated that about five or six years would be needed for the economy to converge fully to a longer run path” with sustainable growth and a thriving labor market.

Fed asserts protective role in banning fees on overdrafts

Flexing newfound muscle as consumer protector, the Federal Reserve on Thursday banned overdraft fees on automated teller machine and debit-card transactions unless consumers have actively opted for an overdraft protection service. The new rules mean that banks will be required to get their customers’ permission before charging fees when debit-card and ATM transactions trigger an overdraft. Customers who don’t elect to have overdraft coverage will see their charges rejected if they put their bank accounts into the red.

Interest rates held steady

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it was holding short-term interest rates at near zero and would probably make no change for the foreseeable future, despite a turnaround in economic activity. Chairman Ben Bernanke and others at the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee reiterated that they would maintain the benchmark overnight lending rate between zero and 0.25 percent, adding that the rate was likely to remain “exceptionally low” for “an extended period.”

Fed caught up in power play

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve has dramatically expanded its role in the economy over the past 18 months, and the Obama administration has proposed enhancing that authority as part of an overhaul of financial regulations. But many members of Congress – Democrats and Republicans – are seeking to curtail the central bank’s authority instead of expand it.

Stocks end lower despite better view from Fed

NEW YORK — The stock market is encouraged by the Fed’s latest improved assessment of the economy, but not enough to propel the Dow Jones industrial average past 10,000.

Fed more hopeful on economy

The Federal Reserve delivered a vote of confidence in the economy Wednesday, saying it would slow the pace of an emergency rescue program as the recession appears to be ending.

Enhanced role for Fed argued

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke ran into skepticism Tuesday from lawmakers wary of expanding the Fed’s duties to police big financial companies. They argued that the Fed failed to spot problems that led to the financial crisis in the first place. “The Fed has made some big mistakes,” said Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee.