Reconstruction Finance Corporation
The creation of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation can be attributed to the period when there numerous government interventions in business operations. This was a period that was commonly referred to as the classically liberal political philosophy of many American administrations. This occurred before Herbert Hoover restricted their market interference to seemingly few peacetime interventions. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was also established through the enactment of an Act by the Congress. Following his signing of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation Act, President Hoover stated that the measure established a powerful organization with enough resources to strengthen weaknesses that may occur in the country’s credit, banking, and railway structure. As evident in its history, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation played a critical role in accomplishing its objectives.
Purpose of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation:
The purpose of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation can be identified through President Hoover’s statement after he signed the Reconstruction Finance Corporation Act. The enactment of this act established a powerful organization with sufficient resources to foster the limitations that may develop in the country’s credit, railway, and banking structure (“Statement about Signing,” n.d.). The establishment of this corporation was to enable business and industry to conduct normal activities without any doubt of unexpected shocks and retarding impacts.
According to President Hoover, the main purpose of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation is to end deflation in agriculture and industry, which in turn increases employment through restoration of employees to the ordinary jobs. However, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation was not established to aid bug banks or industries because such institutions have the ability to take care of themselves in light of their operations.
In contrast, the corporation was created for the support of smaller banks and other financial institutions. The corporation was to provide the support to such institutions through depicting their resources liquid in order to offer improved help to business, agriculture, and industry. As a result, this organization would be a crucial part of the country’s financial operations since it provides an opportunity to mobilize huge strength for the country in her recovery initiatives.
History of Reconstruction Finance Corporation:
The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was established and started its operations on February 22, 1932 (“Final Report,” n.d.). The initial principal function for the Corporation was to expand financial help to commerce, agriculture, and industry through the channels of direct loans to financial institutions, banks, and trust companies. During the initial period of its operations, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation was responsible for loans to railroad companies and their receivers through the approval of the Interstate Commerce Commission.
The succession of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation was initially scheduled at 10 years, though new loans could be approved only within the first 2 years of the period. However, the U.S. Congress extended the lending power and expanded the functions of the Corporation through including the powers to buy capital stocks of financial institutions, agricultural credit corporations, insurance firms, and national mortgage associations. Consequently, the Congress gave RFC the power to make loans to business enterprises, public school authorities, mining interests, agricultural improvement districts, and disaster victims. In addition, the corporation was also given the authority to help in funding the construction of public works. The Congress was further directed the Corporation to buy the securities of, provide loans, advances, and distributions of funds to several American governmental corporations and agencies.
In 1940, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation was given new responsibilities with regards to the national defense programs that were being undertaken following the enactment of legislation in that regard. These defense programs were mainly carried out by subsidiary corporations and they were significantly extended during the Second World War II period. In addition to providing these defense responsibilities, the Act expanded the Corporation’s succession to January 22, 1947. There were subsequent extensions of the Corporation’s succession with the final one extending it to June 30, 1956. Notably, before the final extension, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation Liquidation Act became effective. Nonetheless, the Corporation was abolished on June 30, 1957 as stated in the Reorganization Plan No. 1 of the same year.
Importance of RFC:
Even though the Reconstruction Finance Corporation was abolished, an understanding of the Corporation’s history and organizational structure is crucial in helping policymakers in decisions about the attractiveness and efficiency of salvaging components of the financial services industry (Todd, n.d.). An understanding of the Corporation’s history is also significant for policymakers since it predisposes them towards making government-funded debt rescue initiatives different from the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy initiatives. Actually, the current search for a government-sponsored monetary rescue mechanism can benefit from reviewing lessons of the history that led to creation and eventual demise of RFC.
In conclusion, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation is one of the most significant government-instituted entities in the history of the United States. The history and eventual demise of this Corporation provides important lessons for policymakers in light of developing government-funded debt rescue initiatives.
Fraser – Federal Reserve Archive. “Final Report on the Reconstruction Finance Corporation,”
Fraser – Federal Reserve Archive, April 30, 2013, http://fraser.stlouisfed.org/docs/publications/rcf/rfc_19590506_finalreport.pdf
The American Presidency Project. “Statement about Signing the Reconstruction Finance
Corporation Act,” University of California Santa Barbara, April 30, 2013,
Todd, Walker. “History of and Rationales for the Reconstruction Finance Corporation,” Federal
Reserve Bank of Cleveland, April 30, 2013, http://www.clevelandfed.org/research/review/1992/92-q4-todd.pdf
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