February 17, 2011

Board begins 2011 Survey of Finance Companies

For immediate release

The Federal Reserve System in February will conduct its Survey of Finance Companies as part of an effort to paint a complete and continuing picture of the sector in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

"As recent events have made very clear, the availability of credit to consumers and businesses is critical to the efficient functioning of our economy," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in a letter to prospective survey participants. The survey results will further the understanding of the structure of the finance company industry, he noted.

The assets and liabilities of finance companies--non-depository companies that provide financing to consumers or businesses--have been surveyed by the Federal Reserve at roughly five-year intervals since 1955. The data collected provide a benchmark for the System's monthly report on the outstanding accounts receivable of finance companies (presented in the Federal Reserve's Finance Companies statistical release) and provide a comprehensive update on these companies' sources of funds. This information in turn becomes an important input to the estimates of total consumer credit (presented in the Federal Reserve's Consumer Credit statistical release) and the U.S. flow of funds accounts.

The attached letter from Chairman Bernanke was sent to approximately 2,500 companies urging their participation in the survey.

Results of the Survey of Finance Companies will appear in an upcoming Federal Reserve Bulletin.

Last Update: February 17, 2011