STATE OF BUSINESS: Open Before Christmas

For bankers, businessmen and consumers, the Federal Reserve Board last week had a Christmas present well in advance of Christmas. To supply more cash and credit for the Christmas shopping season, FRB added $1.3 billion to the lending power of its 6,200 member banks by allowing them to count all cash on hand as reserves. It also lowered the minimum reserves permitted big-city banks from 17½% to 16½% of deposits.

This was FRB's third move to ease credit in a year, and many businessmen thought it was overdue. The critics think that FRB has moved too slowly to get business moving,...

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