Meetings with top Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. officials were on the schedule of Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley in his first days on the job in February 2009, the regional reserve bank chief’s daybook showed yesterday.
Dudley, a former partner and chief U.S. economist at Goldman, had an appointment to meet that bank’s chairman, Lloyd Blankfein, on Feb. 6, 2009, according to his schedule for 2009 and the first nine months of 2010. Four days earlier, Goldman was the topic of a planned meeting between Dudley and his staff.
Bloomberg News requested the records in a Nov. 29, 2010, Freedom of Information Act filing. New York Fed Senior Vice President Michael Held, in a letter to Bloomberg containing the documents, said the bank was complying “with the spirit of FOIA,” while maintaining it was not subject to the legislation. The New York Fed also published Dudley’s schedule on its website.
“In order to effectively perform his public duties, the New York Fed president must meet regularly with market participants, fellow regulators, the heads of institutions supervised by the Fed,” said New York Fed spokesman Jeffrey Smith. Dudley also meets with “members of advisory committees on small business and the regional economy, international officials and many others,” Smith said.
Dudley became the New York Fed’s 10th president and chief executive on Jan. 27, 2009. Prior to that, he was the bank’s head of markets during the financial crisis and one of the architects of the Fed’s emergency lending facilities.
“You would expect him to have open lines of communication with these guys,” said Dino Kos, a managing director at Portales Partners LLC in New York and former head of markets at the New York Fed bank. “It seems pretty normal.”
The daybook also showed the grueling schedule kept by the New York Fed chief as the U.S. financial system had begun to heal from the financial crisis following the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September 2008.
A car picked Dudley up at 6:15 a.m. most mornings, and he was in meetings with staff by 7:30 a.m. At lunch and in the afternoons, he often met with industry and international finance officials such as Christine Lagarde, France’s minister of finance.
At the end of each day, Dudley was briefed by staff on market conditions. Sometimes his day extended to dinner, such as one scheduled with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at 8 p.m. on Feb. 9, 2009. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP. Dudley also met with Bloomberg LP President Daniel Doctoroff and Jerry Speyer, chairman of Tishman Speyer, on June 2, 2009.
Dudley scheduled a dinner with JPMorgan Chase & Co. chairman Jamie Dimon on Feb. 18, 2009. On March 17, 2009, he met with Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke at 1 p.m., an hour before the policy-making Federal Open Market Committee met.
The New York Fed president also used that trip to Washington to meet with lawmakers who would oversee financial reform legislation.
Dudley met with Senator Bob Corker, and U.S. Representatives Barney Frank and Spencer Bachus on March 16, 2009, and with Senator Jack Reed the following day. Frank and Bachus were then the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the House Financial Services Committee and Corker and Reed were then members of the Senate Banking Committee. Both committees have oversight responsibility for the central bank.
The Fed Board of Governors works closely with reserve banks in its oversight of the largest bank-holding companies. The New York Fed plays a central role as the Board’s eyes and ears on markets and the big Wall Street institutions.
Other meetings with Goldman’s Blankfein followed on Feb. 18, April 3 and Dec. 11, 2009, and on Aug. 18, 2010. Dudley met with Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit on Feb. 2 and 23, and on Sept. 11 in 2009. He also met Pandit on Jan. 21, March 18, June 3 and Sept. 17 in 2010, the daybook showed.