In an attempt to avoid a financial market meltdown in the US, the Federal Reserve made an emergency rate cut on Sunday. The quarter percentage point cut applies to the discount lending rate to financial institutions, bringing the short-term lending rate from 3.5 percent to 3.25 percent. This cut only covers short-term loans that banks receive from the Federal Reserve and doesn't include loans to individual borrowers. This move called upon a Depression-era clause in the Federal Reserve Act that waives the ban on the Fed extending loans to nonbanks, as the rate cuts are extended to securities dealers, too. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said, "These steps will provide financial institutions with greater assurance of access to funds."
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