Credit Policy and Control of Recovery

January 5, 1937

Report Outline
Present Rapid Rise of Business Activity
Excess Reserves and Credit Inflation
Gold Imports and Capital Movements
Margin Requirements and Credit Expansion
Special Focus

Present Rapid Rise of Business Activity

The depth of the administration's concern lest the present recovery movement assume boom characteristics and proportions was given forceful expression on December 21, 1936, when the Treasury announced adoption of an entirely new policy evolved for the purpose of preventing future gold imports from being used to enlarge an already more than ample credit base. This step supplemented the previous action of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in raising by 50 per cent, effective August 15, 1936, the reserve requirements of member banks. It is now generally anticipated that announcement of a further lifting of reserve requirements, to the full amount authorized by the Banking Act of 1935, will be made later this month.

For more than a year prior to the Board's action of last summer, reserves held by member banks equalled in each month nearly, if not more than, twice the amounts required. While the margin between required reserves and total reserves was substantially narrowed by the increase of reserve requirements in August, excess reserves continued to accumulate thereafter. The principal influence in this increase was a large inflow of gold from abroad, reflecting heavier foreign investment in American securities following conclusion, September 25, of an understanding between the United States, Great Britain, and France for cooperative action to maintain monetary equilibrium.

The new “sterilization” policy is intended to eliminate gold imports as a credit and market factor, by preventing them both from swelling bank reserves and from exerting a contracting and depressing effect in case of sudden and wholesale withdrawals. An increase of reserve requirements, by converting excess reserves, or a, portion thereof, into required reserves, reduces the volume of potential bank credit. The large amount of excess reserves has provided the basis for an enormous credit expansion, much greater even than that which occurred in 1929 and the immediately preceding years. The action which has already been taken, and the further action which is believed to be contemplated, is aimed to forestall recurrence of such a development by placing federal authorities in a position where other controls can be employed to prevent the present marked recovery trend from turning into a feverishly accelerated advance leading only to another and perhaps worse depression.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
New Deal, Great Depression, and Economic Recovery
Feb. 20, 2009  Public-Works Projects
Jul. 25, 1986  New Deal for the Family
Apr. 04, 1973  Future of Social Programs
Nov. 18, 1944  Postwar Public Works
Apr. 12, 1941  Public Works in the Post-Emergency Period
Mar. 08, 1940  Integration of Utility Systems
Feb. 26, 1938  The Permanent Problem of Relief
Jun. 08, 1937  Experiments in Price Control
Jan. 05, 1937  Credit Policy and Control of Recovery
Nov. 27, 1936  New Deal Aims and the Constitution
Oct. 16, 1936  Father Coughlin vs. the Federal Reserve System
Sep. 25, 1936  Roosevelt Policies in Practice
Feb. 11, 1936  Conditional Grants to the States
Dec. 11, 1935  Capital Goods Industries and Recovery
Sep. 25, 1935  Unemployment Relief Under Roosevelt
Jul. 17, 1935  The R.F.C. Under Hoover and Roosevelt
Jul. 03, 1935  Six Months of the Second New Deal Congress
Jun. 04, 1935  The Supreme Court and the New Deal
Mar. 05, 1935  Public Works and Work Relief
Feb. 16, 1935  Organized Labor and the New Deal
Dec. 04, 1934  Rural Electrification and Power Rates
Oct. 26, 1934  Federal Relief Programs and Policies
Jul. 25, 1934  Distribution of Federal Emergency Expenditures
Jul. 17, 1934  Debt, Credit, and Recovery
May 25, 1934  The New Deal in the Courts
Mar. 27, 1934  Construction and Economic Recovery
Mar. 19, 1934  Price Controls Under N.R.A.
Feb. 15, 1934  Federal Promotion of State Unemployment Insurance
Jan. 10, 1934  Government and Business After the Depression
Jan. 02, 1934  The Adjustment of Municipal Debts
Dec. 12, 1933  The Machine and the Recovery Program
Dec. 05, 1933  Winter Relief, 1933–1934
Nov. 11, 1933  Power Policies of the Roosevelt Administration
Oct. 28, 1933  Buying Power under the Recovery Program
Oct. 19, 1933  Land Settlement for the Unemployed
Sep. 20, 1933  The Capital Market and the Securities Act
Jul. 18, 1933  Public Works and National Recovery
Jul. 01, 1933  The Plan for National Industrial Control
May 03, 1933  Economic Readjustments Essential to Prosperity
Apr. 26, 1933  Government Subsidies to Private Industry
Mar. 25, 1933  Rehabilitation of the Unemployed
Feb. 17, 1933  Federal Cooperation in Unemployment Relief
Nov. 16, 1932  Systems of Unemployment Compensation
Nov. 09, 1932  Policies of the New Administration
Aug. 18, 1932  Emergency Relief Construction and Self-Liquidating Projects
Dec. 28, 1931  Relief of Unemployment
Aug. 01, 1931  National Economic Planning
Jul. 20, 1931  Dividends and Wages in Periods of Depression
Feb. 19, 1931  Insurance Against Unemployment
Jan. 19, 1931  Business Failures and Bankruptcy Administration
Jan. 01, 1931  Federal Subsidies to the States
Dec. 08, 1930  Federal Relief of Economic Distress
Sep. 25, 1930  The Extent of Unemployment
May 16, 1930  Politics and Depressions
Dec. 20, 1929  The Federal Public Works Program
Jun. 08, 1929  The Federal Reserve System and Stock Speculation
Apr. 14, 1928  The Federal Reserve System and Price Stabilization
Feb. 25, 1928  The Federal Reserve System and Brokers' Loans
Consumer Credit and Debt
Financial Institutions