The US Federal Reserve Board has agreed to applications by investment banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to become bank holding companies.
The rate-setting central bank said in a statement that the approval was granted, pending a five-day antitrust waiting period.
The Fed, which has spearheaded an ongoing government effort to halt a financial panic that has constricted the flow of private credit, said it was motivated by a desire "to provide increased liquidity support to these firms as they transition to managing their funding within a bank holding company structure."
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Fed's regional affiliate, will be able to make loans to the US broker-dealer subsidiaries of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The loans will use a recently widened spectrum of securities as collateral.
In addition, the Federal Reserve Board also authorized credit to be extended to the London-based broker-dealer subsidiaries of both firms and Merrill Lynch, which was taken over last week in an emergency sale to Bank of America.