Big banks don’t want you to know which of them went to the Fed for emergency help, writes Winkler. The Clearing House Association, which represents 20 of the country’s biggest commercial banks, is asking the Supreme Court to keep the bailout secret. Current law doesn’t require the Fed to disclose information about loans from its discount window. But such disclosure would show whether the central bank may have violated the law by lending to any insolvent banks for extended periods. Greater transparency would yield greater accountability–and more reason for taxpayers to trust the banks they helped save. Most importantly, it would give fragile markets a better chance to recover with new jobs financed by confident investors.
Winkler is the editor in chief of Bloomberg News.