Ben Bernanke

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What is it?

It's a man - the chairman of the Federal Reserve. Bernanke is a big player in the world of the credit crunch because he's able to a) set US interest rates (via the discount window) and the federal funds rate, and b) engineer a rescue of struggling banks like Bear Stearns.

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What's he got to do with the financial crisis?

As a result of the credit crunch, Bernanke and the Fed have become more powerful and Bernanke has been in the front line of the battle to keep the finance industry afloat. After the problems with Bear Stearns, Bernanke gave investment banks access to the discount window for the first time. The Fed is now demanding that it has a broader role in regulating US investment banks.

A former academic, Bernanke is an expert on the Great Depression and its causes.

Last updated on 26 September 2008.

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