This page gives short introductions to some of the organizations mentioned elsewhere, with links to further information.
Bafin (which stands for Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht) is the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority.
From the Bafin website:
“Following the adoption on 22 April 2002 of the Law on Integrated Financial Services Supervision (Gesetz über die integrierte Finanzaufsicht - FinDAG), the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht -BaFin) was established on 1 May 2002. The functions of the former offices for banking supervision (Bundesaufsichtsamt für das Kreditwesen - BAKred), insurance supervision (Bundesaufsichtsamt für das Versicherungswesen - BAV) and securities supervision (Bundesaufsichtsamt für den Wertpapierhandel - BAWe) have been combined in a single state regulator that supervises banks, financial services institutions and insurance undertakings across the entire financial market and comprises all the key functions of consumer protection and solvency supervision. The new Federal Financial Supervisory Authority will make a valuable contribution to the stability of Germany as a financial centre and improve its competitiveness. The BaFin is a federal institution governed by public law that belongs to the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Finance and as such, has a legal personality. Its two offices are located in Bonn and Frankfurt/Main, where approximately 1,000 persons are employed. The BaFin supervises about 2,700 banks, 800 financial services institutions and over 700 insurance undertakings.”
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS)
From the BIS homepage:
“The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is an international organisation which fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks.”
“BIS was originally formed to facilitate money transfers arising from settling an obligation arising from a peace treaty. After World War I, the need for the bank was suggested in 1929 by the Young Committee, as a means of transfer for German reparations payments - see Treaty of Versailles.”
“An international organization fostering the cooperation of central banks and international monetary policy makers. Established in 1930, it is the oldest international financial organization, and was created to administer the transaction of monies according to the Treaty of Versailles. Among others, its main goals are to promote information sharing and to be a key center for economic research. Essentially, the BIS is a central bank for central banks; it does not provide financial services to individuals or corporations. The BIS is located in Basel, Switzerland, and has representative offices in Mexico City and Hong Kong. Member banks include the Bank of Canada, the Federal Reserve Bank and the European Central Bank.”
The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is an agency of the US Department of Commerce, whose core role is tracking the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA), leading, in particular, to widely used statistics on GDP and household finances.
From the BEA website:
“BEA's Role in the Federal Statistical System
BEA is an agency of the Department of Commerce. Along with the Census Bureau and STAT-USA, BEA is part of the Department's Economics and Statistics Administration.
BEA produces economic accounts statistics that enable government and business decision-makers, researchers, and the American public to follow and understand the performance of the Nation's economy. To do this, BEA collects source data, conducts research and analysis, develops and implements estimation methodologies, and disseminates statistics to the public.
BEA is one of the world's leading statistical agencies. Although it is a relatively small agency, BEA produces some of the most closely watched economic statistics that influence the decisions made by government officials, business people, households, and individuals. BEA's economic statistics, which provide a comprehensive, up-to-date picture of the U.S. economy, are key ingredients in critical decisions affecting monetary policy, tax and budget projections, and business investment plans. The cornerstone of BEA's statistics is the national income and product accounts (NIPAs), which feature the estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) and related measures.”
Further note on Commerce organization (see the Dept of Commerce web site, “About” tab): the coarsest level of organization in the Department of Commerce is an “Administration”. The BEA and the Bureau of the Census both belong to the Economics and Statistics Administration.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in the US Department of Labor, is best known for calculating the consumer price index and most of the key employment situation statistics.
From the BLS website:
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the principal fact-finding agency for the Federal Government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics.”
From The Conference Board website:
“The Conference Board is the world's preeminent business membership and research organization. Best known for the Consumer Confidence Index and the Leading Economic Indicators, The Conference Board has, for over 90 years, equipped the world's leading corporations with practical knowledge through issues-oriented research and senior executive peer-to-peer meetings. In an uncertain world of intense competition, increasing public accountability, and global risks, The Conference Board provides its members — top executives and industry leaders from the most respected corporations in the United States and around the world — with vital business intelligence and forward-looking best practices. At the same time, The Conference Board promotes confidence in the free enterprise system by shaping the values critical to ethical business performance. Companies and individuals benefit by using the knowledge we create and our unrivaled global network to improve business performance. The Conference Board is a not-for-profit organization and holds 501 © (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.”
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a federal department that deals with housing and urban renewal.
“The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD, is a Cabinet department in the Executive branch of the United States federal government. Although its beginnings were in the House and Home Financing Agency, it was founded as a Cabinet department in 1965, as part of the “Great Society” program of President Lyndon Johnson, to develop and execute policy on housing and cities.”
From the HUD website:
“HUD's mission is to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination. To fulfill this mission, HUD will embrace high standards of ethics, management and accountability and forge new partnerships–particularly with faith-based and community organizations–that leverage resources and improve HUD's ability to be effective on the community level.”
The Employment and Training Administration (ETA), within the Department of Labor, helps to manage the unemployment compensation system, and provides data on unemployment claims.
ETA states: “The mission of the Employment and Training Administration is to contribute to the more efficient functioning of the U.S. labor market by providing high quality job training, employment, labor market information, and income maintenance services primarily through state and local workforce development systems.”
In particular, the Office of Workforce Security, within the ETA, is responsible for, among other things, “Providing oversight, policy guidance, and technical assistance for the federal-state unemployment compensation system and providing budget and legislative support to unemployment compensation and one-stop public employment service systems.”
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is part of the US Department of Energy, supplying “Official energy statistics from the US government”.
Fannie Mae (formally the Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (formally the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) are two mortgage corporations with similar aims. Both are publicly traded companies, which however exist largely to carry out government aims. The congressional charter emphasizes increasing the accessibility of homeownership.
Because the two companies are government-chartered, they enjoy an implicit government guarantee, which gives them access to inexpensive funding. They use this to increase availability of mortgage credit in two ways: (1) they issue their own bonds (“agency debt”) and use the money to purchase and hold mortgages, and (2) they buy mortgages, pool them into mortgage-backed securities, and then sell these with a guarantee.
Together Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee about half of the US mortgage market.
For further information see
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is a U.S. government agency that provides insurance for deposits in member banks.
From the FDIC website:
“The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an independent agency created by the Congress to maintain stability and public confidence in the nation's financial system by: insuring deposits; examining and supervising financial institutions for safety and soundness and consumer protection; and managing receiverships.”
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is a government agency, overseen by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
From the HUD website:
“The Federal Housing Administration, generally known as “FHA”, provides mortgage insurance on loans made by FHA-approved lenders throughout the United States and its territories. FHA insures mortgages on single family and multifamily homes including manufactured homes and hospitals. It is the largest insurer of mortgages in the world, insuring over 34 million properties since its inception in 1934.”
And from Wikipedia:
“The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is a United States government agency created as part of the National Housing Act of 1934. The goals of this organization are: to improve housing standards and conditions; to provide an adequate home financing system through insurance of mortgage loans; and to stabilize the mortgage market.”
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is a government agency responsible for overseeing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the federal home loan banks.
“A U.S. government agency created by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 that regulates the secondary mortgage market by overseeing the activities of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 12 federal home loan banks. This new agency was established to act like a bank-regulator in order to strengthen and improve oversight of the U.S. housing finance system because of the secondary mortgage market's major role in the overall economy.”
And from the FHFA website:
“The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) was created on July 30, 2008, when the President signed into law the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The Act created a world-class, empowered regulator with all of the authorities necessary to oversee vital components of our country’s secondary mortgage markets – Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks. In addition, this law combined the staffs of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), the Federal Housing Finance Board (FHFB), and the GSE mission office at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).”
The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is one of 12 federal reserve banks located in the United States.
“The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, commonly known as the Boston Fed, is responsible for the First District of the Federal Reserve, which covers Connecticut (excluding Fairfield County), Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.”
From the Boston Fed website:
“Federal Reserve Bank of Boston promotes sound growth and financial stability in New England and the nation. The Bank contributes to local communities, the region, and the nation through its high-quality research, regulatory oversight, and financial services, and through its commitment to leadership and innovation.”
The private Institute_for_Supply_Management (ISM) is best known to investors for their Reports on Business, and in particular for the diffusion indices constructed to indicate conditions in the US manufacturing and service sectors.
In their ISM Overview, the organization states,
Founded in 1915, the Institute for Supply Management™ (ISM) is the largest supply management association in the world as well as one of the most respected. ISM’s mission is to lead the supply management profession through its standards of excellence, research, promotional activities, and education. ISM’s membership base includes more than 40,000 supply management professionals with a network of domestic and international affiliated associations. ISM is a not-for-profit association that provides opportunities for the promotion of the profession and the expansion of professional skills and knowledge.
The IAEA is an international research, inspection, and policy support body set up by, and associated with, the United Nations. From the IAEA website:
“The IAEA is the world´s center of cooperation in the nuclear field. It was set up as the world´s “Atoms for Peace” organization in 1957 within the United Nations family. The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies. …
The IAEA´s mission is guided by the interests and needs of Member States, strategic plans and the vision embodied in the IAEA Statute. Three main pillars - or areas of work - underpin the IAEA´s mission: Safety and Security; Science and Technology; and Safeguards and Verification. …
As an independent international organization related to the United Nations system, the IAEA´s relationship with the UN is regulated by special agreement. In terms of its Statute, the IAEA reports annually to the UN General Assembly and, when appropriate, to the Security Council regarding non-compliance by States with their safeguards obligations as well as on matters relating to international peace and security.”
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is most often mentioned in connection with loans to countries in need of emergency funds.
From the IMF:
“About the IMF. The IMF is an international organization of 185 member countries. It was established to promote international monetary cooperation, exchange stability, and orderly exchange arrangements; to foster economic growth and high levels of employment; and to provide temporary financial assistance to countries to help ease balance of payments adjustment.”
From the Financial Times USA, 28 Oct 2008, p3. “The world's credit union. Alan Beattie”:
“the International Monetary Fund is in essence a big credit union … Its 185-member countries place money on deposit at the IMF - on which they receive interest - which is lent out to governments in crisis. But who puts what money in, and what power they get over the institution in return, has proved a subject of lively controversy. Power on the fund's governing board is a politically awkward mix of a United Nations-style “one member, one vote” philosophy with a more hard-headed “votes for cash” approach, with the latter factor much more prominent.”
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is a key source for global energy statistics.
From the IEA website:
“About the IEA
The International Energy Agency (IEA) acts as energy policy advisor to 27 member countries in their effort to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for their citizens. Founded during the oil crisis of 1973-74, the IEA’s initial role was to co-ordinate measures in times of oil supply emergencies. As energy markets have changed, so has the IEA. Its mandate has broadened to incorporate the “Three E’s” of balanced energy policy making: energy security, economic development and environmental protection. Current work focuses on climate change policies, market reform, energy technology collaboration and outreach to the rest of the world, especially major consumers and producers of energy like China, India, Russia and the OPEC countries.
With a staff of around 190, mainly energy experts and statisticians from its 27 member countries, the IEA conducts a broad programme of energy research, data compilation, publications and public dissemination of the latest energy policy analysis and recommendations on good practices.”
The member countries of the IEA were, in May 2008, all the members of the OECD except Iceland, Mexico, and Poland.
JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) is a financial services company located in the U.S. and provides financial services worldwide.
“JPMorgan Chase & Co. is one of the oldest financial services firms in the world. It has operations in 60 countries. It is a leader in financial services with assets of $2 trillion, and the largest market capitalization and third largest deposit base U.S. banking institution behind Wells Fargo and Bank of America. The hedge fund unit of JPMorgan Chase is the second largest hedge fund in the United States with $32,893 million in assets as of 2009. Formed in 2000, when Chase Manhattan Corporation merged with J.P. Morgan & Co., the firm serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and governmental clients.”
From their website:
Chase: “The U.S. consumer and commercial banking businesses serve customers under the Chase brand. The consumer businesses include: branch, ATM, telephone and online banking; credit cards; small business; home finance and home equity loans; auto finance; education finance; retirement & investing. The commercial banking businesses include: middle market; mid-corporate; commercial real estate; business credit; equipment finance.”
J.P. Morgan: “J.P. Morgan clients include the world's most prominent corporations, governments, wealthy individuals and institutional investors. These businesses use the J.P. Morgan brand: investment bank; asset management; treasury services; worldwide securities services; private banking; private client services; one equity partners.”
From the MSCI website:
“MSCI provides global equity indices, which, over the last 30+ years, have become the most widely used international equity benchmarks by institutional investors. MSCI constructs global equity benchmark indices that contribute to the investment process by serving as relevant and accurate performance benchmarks and effective research tools, and as the basis for various investment vehicles. As such, the MSCI Equity Indices are designed to fulfill the investment needs of a wide variety of global institutional market participants. In constructing these indices, MSCI consistently applies its index construction and maintenance methodology across 23 developed and 27 emerging markets. This consistent approach makes it possible to aggregate individual country and industry indices to create meaningful composite, regional, sector and industry benchmarks.”
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is a widely quoted source for mortgage delinquency and foreclosure rates, as well as mortgage applications.
From the MBA website:
“The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is the national association representing the real estate finance industry, an industry that employs more than 280,000 people in virtually every community in the country. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., MBA invests in communities across the nation by ensuring the continued strength of the nation's residential and commercial real estate markets; expanding homeownership and extending access to affordable housing to all Americans and supporting financial literacy efforts.”
Quarterly delinquency report. The WSJ says: “The Mortgage Bankers Association's quarterly readings on mortgage delinquencies are among the most closely followed, though some economists say that the association may miss some smaller subprime lenders, and that the picture could look better than it really is. Numbers typically are released more than two months after a quarter ends.” (3 Aug 2007, PC1, ”“The Debt-Ometers; How to Read the Subprime and Other Consumer-Loan Dials. Sudeep Reddy and Conor Dougherty”)
Definition of delinquency. “The seasonally adjusted delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties … includes loans that are at least one payment past due but does not include loans in the process of foreclosure.” (e.g. “Delinquencies and Foreclosures Increase in Latest MBA National Delinquency Survey. Contacts: Carolyn Kemp”, at MortgageBankers.org)
“The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is a specialised agency within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organisation of industrialised countries, based in Paris, France.
The mission of the NEA is to assist its Member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international co-operation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for the safe, environmentally friendly and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. To achieve this, the NEA works as: a forum for sharing information and experience and promoting international co-operation; a centre of excellence which helps Member countries to pool and maintain their technical expertise; a vehicle for facilitating policy analyses and developing consensus based on its technical work.”
The Federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is a federal agency that regulates and supervises national banks in the United States.
From the OCC website:
“The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) charters, regulates, and supervises all national banks. It also supervises the federal branches and agencies of foreign banks. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the OCC has four district offices plus an office in London to supervise the international activities of national banks.
The OCC was established in 1863 as a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The OCC is headed by the Comptroller, who is appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, for a five-year term. The Comptroller also serves as a director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and a director of the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation.”
For more information: http://www.helpwithmybank.gov/faqs/other_occ_help.html
The Organization for Economic Coordination and Development (OECD) is a widely used source for economic statistics on the democracies of the world.
From the OECD website:
“Member Countries Australia Austria Belgium Canada Czech Republic Denmark Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Japan Korea Luxembourg Mexico Netherlands New Zealand Norway Poland Portugal Slovak Republic Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey United Kingdom United States
The OECD brings together the governments of countries committed to democracy and the market economy from around the world to:
Monitoring, analysing and forecasting For more than 40 years, the OECD has been one of the world's largest and most reliable sources of comparable statistics, and economic and social data. As well as collecting data, the OECD monitors trends, analyses and forecasts economic developments and researches social changes or evolving patterns in trade, environment, agriculture, technology, taxation and more.”
The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) is a regulatory agency of the US Department of the Treasury.
“The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), an agency of the United States Department of the Treasury, is the primary regulator of federal savings associations (sometimes referred to as federal thrifts). Federal savings associations include both federal savings banks and federal savings and loans. The OTS is also responsible for supervising savings and loan holding companies (SLHCs) and some state-chartered institutions.”
Their mission, according to the OTS website, is:
“To supervise savings associations and their holding companies in order to maintain their safety and soundness and compliance with consumer laws, and to encourage a competitive industry that meets America's financial services needs.”
RBS Securities Inc, formerly RBS Greenwich Capital, is a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Scotland.
“RBS Securites Inc. (formerly Greenwich Capital Markets Inc., trading as RBS Greenwich Capital) is the Royal Bank of Scotland Group's U.S. investment bank/broker-dealer based in Greenwich, Connecticut that specializes in fixed income arbitrage and other fixed income strategies. It is a leading fixed-income capital markets firm, underwriter, trader, and distributor of fixed-income investment products providing a full range of debt financing, risk management and investment services to major corporations and financial and governmental institutions around the world. RBS Securities is also ranked consistently among the leaders in every asset class it trades. It is a primary dealer in US Treasury securities.”
RBS Securities Inc. website is www.rbs.com
RealtyTrac is an online database of foreclosure, auction and bank-owned homes in the U.S.
Their website is www.realtytrac.com
The World Bank's primary goal is to fight poverty. It is also a useful source of global economic data.
From the World_Bank website:
“The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. We are not a bank in the common sense. We are made up of two unique development institutions owned by 186 member countries—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA).
Each institution plays a different but collaborative role to advance the vision of an inclusive and sustainable globalization. The IBRD focuses on middle income and creditworthy poor countries, while IDA focuses on the poorest countries in the world. Together we provide low-interest loans, interest-free credits and grants to developing countries for a wide array of purposes that include investments in education, health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, agriculture, and environmental and natural resource management.”
“The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides leveraged loans to poorer countries for capital programs with a goal of reducing poverty.
The World Bank differs from the World Bank Group, in that the World Bank comprises only two institutions:
Whereas the latter incorporates these two in addition to three more:
The WNA is an association of companies associated with the nuclear power industry, from mining, through fuel fabrication and power production, to waste disposal and cleanup. From the WNA website:
“The World Nuclear Association is the international organization that promotes nuclear energy and supports the many companies that comprise the global nuclear industry.
WNA arose on the foundations of the Uranium Institute, established in London in 1975 as a forum on the market for nuclear fuel. In 2001, spurred by the expanding prospects for nuclear power, the UI changed its name and mandated itself to build a wider membership and a greater diversity of activities. The goal was to develop a truly global organization geared to perform a full range of international roles to support the nuclear industry in fulfilling its enormous growth potential in the 21st Century.
Since WNA’s creation in 2001, the effort to build and diversify has born fruit. WNA membership has expanded three-fold to encompass (i) virtually all world uranium mining, conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication; (ii) all reactor vendors; (iii) major nuclear engineering, construction, and waste management companies; and (iv) nearly 90% of world nuclear generation. Other WNA members provide international services in nuclear transport, law, insurance, brokerage, industry analysis and finance.”