Updated from 10:41 a.m. EST with descriptions of meetings held Jan. 21, March 10, and Sept. 29, 2008.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Federal Reserve released on Friday transcripts of its 2008 policy-making meetings, which included the six emergency meetings the central bank convened as the global financial crisis crushed the economy.
TheStreet is detailing what then-Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, then Vice-Chairman Timothy Geithner and other Fed bankers were saying as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression unfolded.
Jan. 21, 2008 at 6 p.m.
The Federal Open Market Committee convened its first 2008 emergency meeting as a conference call to discuss how quickly the housing and financial crises worsened since December 2007.
The Fed's noteworthy action was to cut the benchmark interest rate by 75 basis points to 3.5% in an effort to offset the damaging effects entering the economy.
The DAX in Germany dropped some 8% that day and oil dropped substantially, "reflecting exceptions of slowing global demand. So it is not necessarily a U.S.-only story." More than five years after the crisis, the world witnessed the worst recession in the United States since the Great Recession and the European sovereign debt crisis that threatened the dissolution of the eurozone economy.
Fed members at this meeting introduced its swap lines with central banks around the world. The decision was for an open-ended program to provide a backstop for the entire market.
Hawkish members of the committee remained unconvinced of the magnanimity of the situation. Richmond Fed Pres. Jeffrey Lacker, St. Louis Fed Pres. Bill Poole and Dallas Fed Pres. Richard Fisher worried that emergency action a week before the regularly scheduled meeting would appear reactionary to falloff in stocks.
Poole, who TheStreet's Jim Cramer famously criticized, went as far as to predict that investors would view a rate cut as a response to foreign markets.
"I still come back to the point that I do not see a convincing argument for acting today rather than nine days from now, and I see lots of downside acting today because of the problems that it is going to create for us in the future," Poole said.
The committee chose to lower the rate, which today still remains at a range of 0% to 0.25% with few Fed worries of inflation.
March 10, 2008 at 7:15 p.m.
FOMC members convened on an emergency phone call just days before former investment bank Bear Stearns' fire sale, but central bankers didn't even consider a bailout days before its bailout.
The Fed's announcement that day expanded its securities lending program, which allowed the central bank to lend up to $200 billion in Treasury securities to primary dealers for 28 days (as opposed to the typical overnight lending agreement) in exchange for agency residential mortgage-backed securities and non-agency mortgage-backed securities.
At center of the discussion was the market effect if the Fed prohibited certain firms, like Bear Stearns, from participating in its lending programs.
"[You] are right; it would be a consequential act for us to say to a primary dealer, 'We are going to restrict you to X' or 'we are not going to consider you eligible any more to bid.' It would not be, we would hope, a visible act. But, of course, in taking the action we would be responsible, in some sense, for contributing to the failure of that institution," Geithner said.
While the Fed decided to provide Bear Stearns with a $12.9 billion loan to forestall its bankruptcy and allow JPMorgan to acquire the bank, it six months later allowed for the infamous Lehman Brothers failure that would panic the world financial system.