The Federal Reserve yesterday divulged the details of an emergency lending program that were previously undisclosed, following a Freedom of Information Act request by Bloomberg News. According to the data, Goldman Sachs was the beneficiary of “the biggest single loan from a lending program,” which was launched in response to the 2008 financial crisis. (It expanded on an already existing Fed loan program).
Goldman Sachs, on one day alone, received $15 billion from the program, and paid a minuscule interest rate:
Goldman’s loan of $15 billion at an interest rate of 1.16% on Dec. 9, 2008 , was the largest 28-day loan from the Fed. Interest rates on loans to Goldman were as low as 0.01% for $200 million on Dec. 30, 2008. [...] Though Goldman got the biggest single loan, its total borrowings of $53.4 billion were less than for some other financial institutions.
That $15 billion is more than the $10 billion that the mega-bank received from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). But little more than a year later, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd “God’s Work” Blankfein insisted during testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry that Goldman wasn’t relying on government help to get through the crisis:
We never anticipated the government help, we weren’t relying on those mechanisms…That weekend, when we became a bank-holding company, the next day, we capitalized ourselves privately with Warren Buffet, and the day after that we did a capital raise for $5.75 billion…We weren’t relying on that government help.
The program in question was just one in a slew of lending programs the Federal Reserve implemented in 2008. It’s unclear whether Goldman actually needed this particular pile of money or, as the Atlantic’s Daniel Indiviglio put it, the bank was just taking advantage of “a big, ultra-cheap loan.” But the fact remains that Goldman benefited significantly from the programs launched to shore up the financial system, while swearing up and down that it never needed them at all (a claim that analysts dispute).
In return for the favors it received during the financial crisis, as the Los Angeles Times detailed, Goldman has “bolster[ed] its Washington presence significantly, turning a low-key lobbying operation into a sophisticated, high-powered enterprise.” The bank “spent $4.6 million lobbying the federal government last year, more than any other company in the securities industry,” trying to both rebut charges made against it by several congressional reports and undermine the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.