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Abstract: Credit to consumers and business is critical to the efficient functioning of the U.S. economy, and finance companies are a key source of such credit. Every five years, the Federal Reserve conducts a two-part survey: the Census of Finance Companies (CFC) to identify the universe of such firms and the Survey of Finance Companies (SFC) to obtain balance-sheet data from firms identified in the CFC. In 2010, this survey underwent a major revision that addressed both the absence of a comprehensive list frame and low response rates. A follow-up study of nonrespondents to the CFC was conducted to obtain information on the operating status of the unobserved firms, and their status as a finance company under the definitions of the CFC. An important complication was the presence of complicated tangles of firms within a corporate hierarchy, whereas the CFC intended to include the consolidated assets of the highest-level parent finance company in such a hierarchy; the follow-up was designed to provide information to estimate the extent of such relationships in the initial sample data. This paper describes the way the CFC and the follow-up were used to construct an estimate of the universe of finance companies.

Keywords: Survey redesign, coverage error, frame error, non-response error, population estimation

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