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Pieces of Eight: News Bulletins from the Eighth Federal Reserve District

Independent Businesses Report Loan Availability Unchanged

Small businesses are not finding it any easier to get loans, according to the latest quarterly survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Almost two-thirds of respondents in the Eighth Federal Reserve District said that loan availability was about the same in the third quarter of 1992 as it had been for the previous three months. About one-third said obtaining a loan was more difficult. More than 60 percent of respondents expect conditions in the first quarter of 1993 to remain unchanged; 30 percent expect conditions to be tighter.

Economic Data Available on Electronic Bulletin Board

A personal computer and modem are all you need to access a free, on-line information service that offers up-to-the-minute economic data. The economic database, called FRED® (Federal Reserve Economic Data), is maintained by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and contains more than 300 daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly data series, including

  • monetary and financial variables, such as money supply, interest rates, deposits, loans and borrowings
  • fiscal variables, such as employment, GDP, income, debt and government expenditures
  • international variables, such as foreign exchange rates, prices and GDP.

Some series go back as far as 1913. FRED allows you to browse through the data, print from the screen or download the data onto a diskette. Special "update" files have been created that allow you to download only the most recent data in a series instead of the entire historical file. FRED is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free—you pay only for the telephone call. To access FRED through a modem, dial (314) 621-1824. For more information, call Tom Pollmann at (314) 444-8562.

Parameters for your communication software should be set to no parity, word length = 8 bits, 1 stop bit and the fastest baud rate your modem supports: 300, 1200, 2400 or 9600 (v.32) bps.

Quenon Named St. Louis Fed Chairman

Robert H. Quenon, mining consultant and past chairman of Peabody Holding Co. Inc., was named chairman of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, effective Jan. 1, 1993. Quenon succeeds H. Edwin Trusheim, chairman of General American Life Insurance Co., who retired on Dec. 31, 1992, after having served six years.

Janet M. Weakley, owner and president of Janet McAfee Inc., a St. Louis real estate company, was named deputy chairman, succeeding Quenon.

Annual Bank Examinations Reduce Insurance Fund Losses, Says Economist

One of the main provisions of the controversial FDIC Improvement Act—the mandate for regulators to examine financial institutions at least annually—is a good one, according to St. Louis Fed economist R. Alton Gilbert. In an upcoming article in the Bank's Review, Gilbert finds that such examinations help bank supervisors constrain the behavior of problem banks and reduce the Bank Insurance Fund's losses. To obtain a copy of the Review, call Debbie Dawe at (314) 444-8809.

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