April 7, 2010 / 2:45 PM / 7 years ago

Greenspan says Congress pushed Fed on housing boom

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WASHINGTON, April 7 (Reuters) - Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan chastised critics on Wednesday by pointing out that Congress pushed the U.S. central bank to make sure lending to poorer Americans kept rising in the 2000s.

"If the Fed as a regulator had tried to thwart what everyone perceived as a fairly broad consensus that the trend was in the right direction, homeownership was rising and that was an unmitigated good, then Congress would have clamped down on us," he told a questioner at a congressionally appointed commission investigating the financial crisis.

"There's a presumption that the Federal Reserve's an independent agency, and it is up to a point, but we are a creature of the Congress and if ... we had said we're running into a bubble and we need to retrench, the Congress would say 'we haven't a clue what you're talking about'," Greenspan said. (Reporting by Glenn Somerville; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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