Timeline: Fed's Bernanke saw U.S. economy through turbulent times

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama nominated Janet Yellen on Wednesday to take over from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, closing a chapter in a turbulent period for the U.S. economy that has spurred unprecedented central bank action.

Following is a look at Bernanke's two four-year terms in office, which come to a close on January 31:

October 24, 2005 - President George W. Bush nominates Bernanke to four-year term as Fed chairman. Bernanke is confirmed by the Senate on January 31, 2006, and sworn in the following day.

August 17, 2007 - Fed cuts discount rate it charges banks for emergency loans by 0.5 percentage point to ease growing strains in financial markets.

November 14, 2007 - Fed announces it will increase frequency of its economic forecasts in an effort to improve transparency.

December 2007 - U.S. economy slips into recession.

December 12, 2007 - Fed launches Term Auction Facility to encourage borrowing by banks hesitant to borrow at its discount window. It was the first of several crisis-era programs the Fed would launch to keep money flowing through the economy.

March 11, 2008 - Fed invokes emergency powers to launch a $200 billion Term Securities Lending Facility in which it offers Treasury securities to primary dealers against a broad range of collateral, including home mortgages, as a way to foster market liquidity. The Fed would invoke emergency powers multiple times during the crisis to launch new lending facilities.

March 14, 2008 - Fed provides emergency financing to Bear Stearns through JPMorgan, the first bailout of a broker since the Great Depression.

March 16, 2008 - Bear Stearns collapses and JPMorgan agrees to buy it with $30 billion in backing from the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Fed launches Primary Dealer Credit Facility for investment banks.

September 7, 2008 - U.S. government takes over mortgage finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

September 14, 2008 - Bank of America buys Merrill Lynch for about $50 billion.

September 15, 2008 - Lehman Brothers becomes the largest firm in U.S. history to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy after the Fed and Treasury fail to find a buyer and make the controversial decision not to bail out the giant investment bank.

September 16, 2008 - Fed lends $85 billion to insurer American International Group to prevent its bankruptcy.

September 19, 2008 - Fed begins Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility to foster liquidity in the ABCP market and money markets in general.

September 21, 2008 - Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs become bank holding companies, giving them access to the Fed's discount window.

September 23, 2008 - Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson urge Congress to approve a $700 billion financial bailout fund.

September 29, 2008 - Dow Jones industrial average drops 778 points, its largest one-day decline in history, after the House of Representatives fails to pass the bailout bill. The Senate passes the bill on October 1 and the House takes it up again on October 3 and this time passes it.

October 8, 2008 - Fed, European Central Bank and the central banks of Canada, Britain, Switzerland and Sweden coordinate a global interest rate cut.

October 21, 2008 - Fed announces a $600 billion facility to help money markets purchase certificates of deposits and commercial paper.

October 27, 2008 - Fed expands support of commercial paper market with creation of a temporary Commercial Paper Funding Facility to extend liquidity to non-bank issuers of the paper.

November 23, 2008 - Fed, Treasury and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp bail out Citigroup by backing $306 billion in loans and acquiring preferred shares in the bank.

November 25, 2008 - Fed launches first round of quantitative easing, or QE1, with plans to buy up to $500 billion in mortgage-backed securities and $100 billion in housing agency debt.

December 16, 2008 - Fed cuts overnight federal funds rate to between zero and 0.25 percent.

January 16, 2009 - Fed, Treasury and FDIC bail out Bank of America by backing some $118 billion in loans and acquiring stock in the bank.

February 18, 2009 - Fed policymakers add longer-run projections for GDP, unemployment and inflation to their quarterly forecasts, a move seen as effectively establishing informal inflation target.

March 15, 2009 - In interview on CBS's 60 Minutes, Bernanke says he sees "green shoots" of economic revival. It is the first television interview by a sitting Fed chairman in 20 years.

March 18, 2009 - Fed announces it will expand QE1 with additional $750 billion in MBS, $100 billion in housing agency debt and $300 billion in Treasury securities. It also vows for first time to hold short-term rates near zero "for an extended period."

June 2009 - U.S. economic recession ends. The 18-month downturn was the longest and deepest since the Great Depression.

August 2009 - Obama nominates Bernanke for second term.

October 2009 - U.S. unemployment rate peaks at 10 percent, its highest since 1983.

January 28, 2010 - Senate confirms Bernanke for second term. The 70-30 vote is the weakest endorsement of a chairman in the Fed's 96-year history.

November 3, 2010 - Fed announces second round of quantitative easing, or QE2, totaling $600 billion in longer-term Treasury bonds.

April 27, 2011 - Bernanke holds Fed's first post-meeting news conference.

August 29, 2011 - Fed says plans to keep rates near zero until mid-2013.

September 21, 2011 - Fed announces "Operation Twist," a plan to exchange $400 billion of short-term Treasury bonds on its balance sheet for long-term bonds in attempt to lower longer-term interest rates.

January 25, 2012 - Fed adopts inflation target for first time, setting 2 percent as the goal. It also says it expect to keep rates near zero through late 2014 and begins publishing policymakers' projections of when they think federal funds rate should rise.

September 13, 2012 - Fed announces third round of quantitative easing, or QE3. It starts by purchasing $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities per month and says it will continue to reinvest principal payments from its holdings.

December 12, 2012 - With Operation Twist expiring at year end, Fed announces plan to expand QE3 by adding purchases of $45 billion worth of longer-term Treasuries per month. It also says it expects rates near zero would be appropriate as long as the jobless rate is above 6.5 percent and inflation does not threaten to top 2.5 percent.

June 19, 2013 - Bernanke says Fed expects to begin to wind down QE3 by year end and bring it to full halt by mid-2014.

September 18, 2013 - Bernanke says the economy is not yet strong enough to allow the Fed to begin reducing its bond buying, confounding markets which had been betting on a decision to taper the purchases.

October 9, 2013 - President Barack Obama, nominating Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen to replace Bernanke at the Fed's helm, thanks the chairman for his service: "He has truly been a stabilizing force, not just for our country but the entire world," he said.

(Compiled by Paige Gance; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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