NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Transcripts released by the Federal Reserve on Friday indicated that the central bank's Federal Open Market Committee didn't discuss a direct bailout of Bear Stearns just days before it provided the struggling investment bank with a $12.9 billion loan that forestalled its bankruptcy and allowed JPMorgan (JPM) to acquire it. Transcripts also revealed that Bear's struggles caused members at the March 10, 2008, meeting to consider the impact were the central bank to decide to cut its lending to any individual primary dealer.
The Fed effectively bailed out Bear Stearns through its March 13 loan, and a March 17 facility called Maiden Lane that allowed the central bank to purchase $30 billion in assets from the investment bank. Those two liquidity measures allowed for JPMorgan to buy Bear Steans and forestall the investment bank's bankruptcy.
Those same efforts weren't taken just months later when Lehman Brothers, another investment bank, fell into a liquidity crisis in the summer and fall of 2008. On Sept. 15, 2008, Lehman brothers filed for bankruptcy after the Federal Reserve refused to lend to the investment bank as it worked to sell assets, or find an equity investor to forestall its demise.
At an unscheduled March 10 FOMC meeting, Fed officials discussed the implications of their direct lending to primary dealers, many of them standalone investment banks mostly outside of their regulatory purview. Using Bear Stearns struggles as an example, officials also began to contemplate the impact of cutting off lending to any back. Fed officials, however, didn't discuss any of their eventual efforts to lend directly to Bear Stearns as part of its rescue by JPMorgan.