Exclusive: Wary of natural disaster, NY Fed bulks up in Chicago

Perhaps the Fed is preparing for a crisis of its own doing and a ‘natural disaster’ is a scapegoat.

Although, and admittedly to their credit, a natural disaster is looming as Mt. Saint Hellens is ready to blow at any moment and a mega earthquake is poised to sink half of California into the Pacific. The New Madrid Fault line is also a great concern at the moment. However, normally in the real world, it’s rather difficult and borderline asinine to try and make a connection between Fed rate hikes and natural disasters.

As the article notes, cyber attacks likely will also play a role in a new crisis.

 

(Reuters) – The New York branch of the U.S. Federal Reserve, wary that a natural disaster or other eventuality could shut down its market operations as it approaches an interest rate hike, has added staff and bulked up its satellite office in Chicago.

Some market technicians have transferred from New York and others were hired at the office housed in the Chicago Fed, according to several people familiar with the build-out that began about two years ago, after Hurricane Sandy struck Manhattan.

The satellite office in the Midwest readies the New York Fed for perhaps the most delicate U.S. interest-rate hike ever. With rates having been near zero for more than six years, and markets flooded with reserves, the Fed will rely on an array of new tools to help it tighten policy, likely later this year.

Two of the sources, which included market participants and Fed officials and who spoke under condition of anonymity, said the Chicago office was partly protection against a possible cyber attack against the New York Fed. In February, Fed Chair Janet Yellen told a congressional panel the central bank is addressing “ever-escalating (cyber) threats to our operations.”

But the main reason for the build-out 700 miles (1,127 kilometers) to the west appeared to be the need to have staff ready at all times in case of disaster.

Lower Manhattan lost power and flood waters came within blocks of the New York Fed when Sandy hit in 2012. Early-stage backup plans were also put in place after the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York.

Full article: Exclusive: Wary of natural disaster, NY Fed bulks up in Chicago (Reuters)

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