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Bernanke says Fed increasing financial monitoring

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WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve has broadened its oversight beyond banks and now monitors a wide-range of financial institutions that could hasten another financial crisis, chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday.

Bernanke said the Fed is still monitoring banks and other systematically important financial institutions. But it has widened its scope to include other important participants that could either trigger a crisis or make the system more vulnerable.

Chief among them is the so-called shadow banking system, which includes loans that are turned into securities and sold to investors. It was the breakdown of lending in the area of sub-prime mortgages that helped trigger the 2008 crisis.

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