Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending October 7, 2017; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending October 12, 2017; Two Of Note Items


Of Note

(1) Randal Quarles took oath of office as member of the Board and Vice Chair for Supervision.

(2) Ben Carson (net worth $22 million and a retired neurosurgeon) testified before the House Financial Services Committee. Carson faced critique

  • of his statement that poverty is “a state of mind” and
  • of his inability to give specific information about HUD’s proposed budget cuts

from Rep. Al Green (D-Tx.).

Comment: Recall that the laughter at the unemployed which occurred during some Federal Open Market Committee meetings.


The Federal Reserve Board (Board) publishes a weekly digest of its activities on its website. The digest is called the H.2 Release and is published every Thursday. The release for the week ending September 30, 2017, is below.

H.2 Release–Actions of the Board, Its Staff, and the Federal Reserve Banks; Applications and Reports Received

Category Action Taken
Bank Holding Companies Columbia Banking System, Inc., Tacoma, Washington — to merge with Pacific Continental Corporation, Eugene, Oregon, and thereby indirectly acquire Pacific Continental Bank.
-Approved, October 6, 2017
Enforcement First Bancorp, San Juan, Puerto Rico — written agreement issued June 3, 2010, terminated October 3, 2017.
-Announced, October 5, 2017

Federal Reserve Board: Balance Sheet (H.4.1 Release)

The Board publishes data of factors affecting reserve balances. The digest is called the H.4.1 Release, and they are published every Thursday (or the next business day if the publication date falls on a federal holiday). The release for October 12, 2017, is below.

[Note: The blog will cover the line titled “Total Factors Supplying Reserve Funds.”]

H.4.1 Release–Factors Affecting Reserve Balances

Total factors supplying reserve funds (as of October 11, 2017):  $4,506,295 (in millions of dollars). (On September 26, 2007, this amount was $900,473 (in millions of dollars)).

(See the release for further information.)

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Futility of “Colorblindness” and Ben Carson: On Poverty Being a “State of Mind”; Carson’s Own Net Worth is $22 Million

I never cease to be amazed at the callous doublespeak, seeing to be compassionate in one sentence, while advocating harsh treatment in the very next sentence. The practitioners of this sort of deception that I have found so far are Dick Grote, Wardell Connerly, and, the topic of this post, Ben Carson.

At an oversight hearing for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Carson was the witness for HUD, advocating for $6 billion of cuts to the HUD budget (13% of its total budget). Carson was once revered for his surgery on conjoined twins at Johns Hopkins University Hospital; he has for some reason misused that adulation to justify withering attacks on the poor.

The poor exist because it is a product of capitalism–some people have so much that they hoard the cash, cash which is taken from others in the society, who suffer from enduring lack of cash. It is the reason that capitalism must be moderated by a responsible government, lest the entire system collapse.

I do not give a millimeter to Carson; it is disgusting that he uses his black skin and life story of poverty not to help others in similar circumstances but rather to hurt them. He is not the only one: He is joined by Wardell Connerly, David Clarke, Larry Elder, and others.

As Representative Al Green (D-Tx.) commented at the hearing (beginning at approximately 2:55:05), Carson argues–in a false calm tone–to destroy others and justify taking more from the vulnerable so that the rich can get more cash.

In addition, while demanding the vulnerable to act perfectly, Carson himself was woefully unprepared for the hearing. Carson was more interested in posturing before the cameras and receiving praise from the GOP committee members as opposed to knowing the specifics about the budget cuts he was proposing.

Carson, net worth $22 million, had the gall to complain that Rep. Green ascribed to him opinions that were not his (regarding his statement on poverty being a “state of mind”), ignoring that he had not answered Rep. Green’s questions.

In fact, his statements in the interview with Armstrong Williams on SiriusXM engage in a cunning lecture of victim blaming, demand of “personal responsibility”, and rejection of government moderation of the wicked nature of capitalism.

I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind. You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they’ll be right back up there,” he said during an interview on SiriusXM Radio with Armstrong Williams, a longtime friend.

“And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they’ll work their way right back down to the bottom,” Carson said.

All of this is in the context of the United States’ centuries of white hegemony. As a result, Carson’s statements are really a stunning, yet hidden, defense of the status quo. Rep. Green was right to bring this to his attention as well as make Carson live up to the demands of his own words (namely, to state specifically which programs were to be cut). Carson failed spectacularly, and so do his words.

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Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending September 30, 2017; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending October 5, 2017; Seth Klarman, Billionaire, Owns Puerto Rican Debt: Bought for Pennies/Dollar–Nearly $1 Billion–Expects Full Face-Value Payment


Of Note

(1) Nearly one Billion dollars of Puerto Rican debt is held by a hedge fund managed by a billionaire, Seth Klarman (his attorney is Jeffrey Katz of law firm Ropes and Gray).

From the Intercept

The Baupost Group, a Boston-based hedge fund managed by billionaire Seth Klarman, owns nearly $1 billion of Puerto Rican debt, purchased under a shell company subsidiary and hidden from public scrutiny. Baupost acquired the debt through an on-paper Delaware-based corporation named Decagon Holdings LLC, whose beneficial owner had been unknown until now.

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Comment:  A key fact of this debt–it was bought for less than the face value, yet the holders are demanding repayment based upon the 100 percent of the debt’s face value. Who is ultimately to pay these “debt holders”–other U.S. citizens (that is, the poor and the (former) middle class).

A quote (again from the Intercept)–

Though the island, currently recovering from a catastrophic hurricane, has been mired in a borrowing crisis for years, it’s difficult to get precise information about the creditors. Many of them scooped up bonds on the cheap, seeking an astronomical payout by forcing the island to pay them back at par (or 100 cents on the dollar). This has led to widespread suffering, as punishing austerity has been imposed to encourage Puerto Rico to pay back the bondholders in full. (Only now has some of this austerity been lifted in the wake of Hurricane Maria.)

 

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The Federal Reserve Board (Board) publishes a weekly digest of its activities on its website. The digest is called the H.2 Release and is published every Thursday. The release for the week ending September 30, 2017, is below.

H.2 Release–Actions of the Board, Its Staff, and the Federal Reserve Banks; Applications and Reports Received

Category Action Taken
Forms Forms — initial Board review to extend with revision the Interagency Notice of Change in Control (FR 2081A), Interagency Notice of Change in Director or Senior Executive Officer (FR 2081B), Interagency Biographical and Financial Report (FR 2081C), and Interagency Bank Merger Act Application (FR 2070).

-Proposed, September 25, 2017

 

Forms — interagency notice and request for comment to transition the Federal Reserve’s Annual Company-Run Stress Test Report for State Member Banks, Bank Holding Companies, and Savings and Loan Holding Companies with Total Consolidated Assets Greater Than $10 Billion and Less Than $50 Billion (FR Y-16) to a Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council reporting form (FFIEC 016).

-Proposed, September 27, 2017

Regulations and Policies Regulatory Capital Rule — publication for comment of interagency proposal to simplify certain aspects of the agencies’ regulatory capital rule. (NOTE: A revised capital proposal was approved on September 26, 2017.)

-Approved, September 20, 2017

(A/C)

Regulatory Capital Rule — publication for comment of interagency proposal to simplify certain aspects of the agencies’ regulatory capital rule to reduce regulatory burden, especially for banking organizations not subject to the advanced approaches capital rule.

-Approved, September 26, 2017

 

Supervision and Regulation Resolution Plans — joint determination with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to extend the resolution plan filing dates (1) for eight large domestic banking organizations to July 1, 2019; and (2) for 82 foreign banking organizations with limited U.S. operations to December 31, 2018.

-Approved, September 27, 2017

Enforcement HSBC Holdings PLC, London, United Kingdom; and HSBC North America Holdings, Inc., New York, New York — issuance of a consent cease-and-desist order and order of assessment of a civil money penalty.

-Approved, September 14, 2017

(A/C)

Federal Reserve Board: Balance Sheet (H.4.1 Release)

The Board publishes data of factors affecting reserve balances. The digest is called the H.4.1 Release, and they are published every Thursday (or the next business day if the publication date falls on a federal holiday). The release for October 5, 2017, is below.

[Note: The blog will cover the line titled “Total Factors Supplying Reserve Funds.”]

H.4.1 Release–Factors Affecting Reserve Balances

Total factors supplying reserve funds (as of October 4, 2017):  $4,507,035 (in millions of dollars). (On September 26, 2007, this amount was $900,473 (in millions of dollars)).

(See the release for further information.)

Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending September 23, 2017; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending September 28, 2017; Three Of Note Items


Of Note

(1) The 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances was released. According to a FEDS Notes article, the net worth for nonwhites, despite a showing of growth, did not begin to approach or match the significantly higher net worth of whites. At similar educational levels, white net worth surpassed, by far, the net worth of blacks and of latinos.

Comment:  This result, while stunning, is unsurprising, given the history and policies of the United States of America.

 

(2) Fed Governor Lael Brainard gave two speeches on the effect of persistent employment disparities (for black and latino peoples) on the wider economy. (Both speeches reflected her own views, not those of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) or the Board.)

Why Persistent Employment Disparities Matter for the Economy’s Health

Labor Market Disparities and Economic Performance

Comment:  For the Board, I do not have confidence, given the closed-door FOMC views and overall derision toward people not socio-economically fortunate. (See blog posts on an article in the Intercept and on the Board’s own nearly 19-year obstinance with its black employees in Artis v. Greenspan Bernanke Yellen)

Such observations would have to become policy positions. With this context, mere reporting on known facts (without remedial policy ideas/proposals) is not sufficient.

 

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(3) Interesting New York Times op-ed by Rana Foroohar, “How Big Banks Became Our Masters.”

Observation:  Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) directed a question to Chair Janet Yellen at the July 2017 Monetary Policy Report hearing. He referred to Foroohar’s book, “Makers and Takers: How Wall Street Destroyed Main Street.”


The Federal Reserve Board (Board) publishes a weekly digest of its activities on its website. The digest is called the H.2 Release and is published every Thursday. The release for the week ending September 23, 2017, is below.

H.2 Release–Actions of the Board, Its Staff, and the Federal Reserve Banks; Applications and Reports Received

Category Action Taken
Bank Holding Companies PacWest Bancorp, Beverly Hills, California — to acquire CU Bancorp, Los Angeles, and thereby indirectly acquire California United Bank.

-Approved, September 20, 2017

Forms Forms — initial Board review to extend without revision the Recordkeeping Requirements Associated with the Real Estate Lending Standards Regulation for State Member Banks (Reg H-5).

-Proposed, September 21, 2017

Personnel Division of Monetary Affairs — appointment of Brian Madigan and Stephen Meyer as senior advisers and Matthew Luecke as associate director.

-Announced, September 22, 2017

Management Division — appointment of Curtis Eldridge as associate director and Katherine Perez-Grines and Daniela Wegmann as assistant directors.

-Announced, September 21, 2017

Regulations and Policies Presidential $1 Coin Program — annual report to Congress on the Presidential $1 Coin Program.

-Approved, September 8, 2017

(A/C)

Enforcement AB&T Financial Corporation, Gastonia, North Carolina — written agreement issued May 7, 2012, terminated September 13, 2017.

-Announced, September 19, 2017

The First Bank of Baldwin, Baldwin, Wisconsin — written agreement issued July 26, 2011, terminated September 19, 2017.

-Announced, September 21, 2017

Federal Reserve Board: Balance Sheet (H.4.1 Release)

The Board publishes data of factors affecting reserve balances. The digest is called the H.4.1 Release, and they are published every Thursday (or the next business day if the publication date falls on a federal holiday). The release for September 28, 2017, is below.

[Note: The blog will cover the line titled “Total Factors Supplying Reserve Funds.”]

H.4.1 Release–Factors Affecting Reserve Balances

Total factors supplying reserve funds (as of September 27, 2017):  $4,502,238 (in millions of dollars). (On September 26, 2007, this amount was $900,473 (in millions of dollars)).

(See the release for further information.)

Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending September 16, 2017; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending September 21, 2017; Three Of Note Items

Of Note

(1) Former Vice President Joe Biden held a panel discussion at the University of Delaware on September 19, 2017. One of the panelists, Dr. Byron Auguste, president and co-founder of the tax-exempt organization, Opportunity@Work, stated something that not even Federal Reserve Board (Board) Chair Janet Yellen could utter–that there is no skills gap, rather it is the institutions not permitting job applicants to demonstrate their ability to learn the job.

Some comments–

Dr. Auguste’s opinion was refreshing. (Dr. Auguste is an economist.)

The fact that Chair Yellen did not mention this reality at her testimonies for the Monetary Policy Report is profoundly disappointing. The Board is failing at its mission, and it seems that the Board is only focused on making policy for the rich.

Note: Also, at this panel discussion, Biden mentioned his disagreement with the idea of a universal basic income (UBI), saying that having a job provides “dignity.” For a person who is wealthy, and a recipient of Social Security and Medicare, it is unclear how those programs destroy dignity. (UBI essentially would extend Social Security to younger people.)

UBI is worthy of further study and should be considered with a job guarantee. Biden provided no way forward except criticizing UBI. I expect more from Biden, who says that he looks out for the (former) middle class.

(2) Hiring discrimination continues (a fact already known by the targets of discrimination).

See the paper, “Meta-analysis of field experiments shows no change in racial discrimination in hiring over time,” by Lincoln Quilian, Devah Pager, Ole Hexel, and Arnfinn H. Midtbøen.

(3) On the so-called skills gap (cont.): Economists, excepting, it seems, Chair Yellen are beginning to recognize that a skills gap does not exist. Also, the op-ed by Ben Tarnoff in the Guardian stated that the push for coding by Silicon Valley firms is to lower the wages of those doing the computer programming (as the current high salaries hurts company profit).

Indeed, every president since Bill Clinton has talked about training American workers to fill the “skills gap”. But gradually, one mainstream economist after another has come to realize what most workers have known for years: the gap doesn’t exist. Even Larry Summers has concluded it’s a myth.

The problem isn’t training. The problem is there aren’t enough good jobs to be trained for. The solution is to make bad jobs better, by raising the minimum wage and making it easier for workers to form a union, and to create more good jobs by investing for growth. This involves forcing business to put money into things that actually grow the productive economy rather than shoveling profits out to shareholders. It also means increasing public investment, so that people can make a decent living doing socially necessary work like decarbonizing our energy system and restoring our decaying infrastructure.

The Federal Reserve Board (Board) publishes a weekly digest of its activities on its website. The digest is called the H.2 Release and is published every Thursday. The release for the week ending September 16, 2017, is below.

H.2 Release–Actions of the Board, Its Staff, and the Federal Reserve Banks; Applications and Reports Received

Category Action Taken
Bank Holding Companies The Toronto-Dominion Bank, Toronto, Canada; TD Group US Holdings LLC, Wilmington, Delaware; and TD Bank US Holding Company, Cherry Hill, New Jersey — to acquire Scottrade Financial Services, Inc., Town and Country, Missouri, and to merge Scottrade Bank into TD Bank, National Association, Wilmington, Delaware; and for The Toronto-Dominion Bank and TD Group US Holdings LLC to acquire additional shares of TD Ameritrade Holdings Corporation, Omaha, Nebraska.

-Approved, September 13, 2017

Forms Forms — modification of the proposed implementation date from September 30, 2017, to March 31, 2018, for the Board’s proposals to extend with revision the FR Y-9, FR Y-7N, FR Y-11, and FR 2314 families of reports and the FR 2886b report.

-Approved, September 11, 2017

Personnel Office of Inspector General — appointment of Gerald L. Maye as assistant inspector general for investigations.

-Approved, September 12, 2017

Regulations and Policies Regulation BB (Community Reinvestment) — publication for comment of interagency amendments to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations to update the existing definitions of “home mortgage loan” and “consumer loan” and the public-file content requirements to conform the CRA regulations to recent changes to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act regulations.

-Approved, August 29, 2017

(A/C)

Enforcement First Nebraska Bank, Valley, Nebraska — issuance of a consent order of assessment of a civil money penalty.

-Announced, September 14, 2017

Markesan State Bank, Markesan, Wisconsin — written agreement with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

-Announced, September 12, 2017

Federal Reserve Board: Balance Sheet (H.4.1 Release)

The Board publishes data of factors affecting reserve balances. The digest is called the H.4.1 Release, and they are published every Thursday (or the next business day if the publication date falls on a federal holiday). The release for September 21, 2017, is below.

[Note: The blog will cover the line titled “Total Factors Supplying Reserve Funds.”]

H.4.1 Release–Factors Affecting Reserve Balances

Total factors supplying reserve funds (as of September 20, 2017):  $4,505,355 (in millions of dollars). (On September 26, 2007, this amount was $900,473 (in millions of dollars)).

(See the release for further information.)

Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending September 9, 2017; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending September 14, 2017; Three Of Note Items


Of Note

(1) The Fed’s respondents in Beige Book informed Fed Banks of their difficulty in getting workers. (See the article at Yahoo Finance by Myles Udland, “It’s Never Been Harder to Fill a Job in America.”)

A comment:  What these anecdotes do not feature, as labor’s views are not collected: The instability of jobs, low pay, no relocation reimbursement. Why would someone move for a job and then possibly lose it after so much stress? Why don’t the companies cultivate talent in the places where they are located?

Yet again, the Fed has fallen down on the job, with its wealthy-economist staff.

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The handless facepalm

(2) The immorality of neoliberalism. Op-ed by Daniel K. Reece, “Mind over Managing:  When Neoliberalism Eats Itself.”

Key quote:

In global economic terms, one theme of the past 30 years has been the undeniable triumph of ‘neoliberalism’ – the idea that economics is a system independent of ethics or normative judgements, and instead one where markets are the supreme moral arbiter, independent of pesky human subjectivity and argument.

Yet whilst ‘markets’ in isolation may be objective concepts, anything which involves us homo sapiens certainly is not. Economic policy that places our actions in an amoral sphere – dictated by the whims of the market, whilst undoubtedly creating enormous wealth for a few – has caused phenomenal wealth disparity whilst downgrading subjective, reasoned argument derived from conscience.

(3) The continuing wealth gap. In a Washington Post article about the falling average salary in high cost-of-living Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, there was a stunning, yet unsurprising, fact—the low level of wealth for black people compared with the wealth of whites.

Key quote:

Frey [William Frey, a demographer in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution] pointed out that the changing fortunes of District residents did not affect everyone equally. White residents, who make up 36 percent of the District, actually saw their median household income rise $2,568, to $127,369, while black residents, who make up 46 percent, saw median incomes fall $3,631 to $37,891.

This drastic inequality was mirrored in some but not all of the largest cities in the nation; the median black family makes $104,722 less than the median white family in San Francisco, but $16,809 less in Jacksonville, Fla.


The Federal Reserve Board (Board) publishes a weekly digest of its activities on its website. The digest is called the H.2 Release and is published every Thursday. The release for the week ending September 9, 2017, is below.

H.2 Release–Actions of the Board, Its Staff, and the Federal Reserve Banks; Applications and Reports Received

Category Action Taken
Bank Mergers Synovus Bank, Columbus, Georgia — to acquire substantially all the assets and assume the deposit liabilities of World’s Foremost Bank, Sidney, Nebraska.
-Approved, September 5, 2017
Forms Forms — initial Board review to extend without revision the Recordkeeping and Disclosure Requirements Associated with the Guidance on Response Programs for Unauthorized Access to Customer Information (FR-4100).
-Proposed, September 5, 2017
Forms — final Board review to extend without revision the Compensation and Salary Surveys (FR 29a, FR 29b).
-Approved, September 5, 2017
Enforcement Regions Bank, Birmingham, Alabama — issuance of a consent order of prohibition against Daniel X. Brennan, a former employee and institution-affiliated party.
-Announced, September 5, 2017

Federal Reserve Board: Balance Sheet (H.4.1 Release)

The Board publishes data of factors affecting reserve balances. The digest is called the H.4.1 Release, and they are published every Thursday (or the next business day if the publication date falls on a federal holiday). The release for September 14, 2017, is below.

[Note: The blog will cover the line titled “Total Factors Supplying Reserve Funds.”]

H.4.1 Release–Factors Affecting Reserve Balances

Total factors supplying reserve funds (as of September 13, 2017):  $4,518,062 (in millions of dollars). (On September 26, 2007, this amount was $900,473 (in millions of dollars)).

(See the release for further information.)

Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending September 2, 2017; H.4.1 Release (Balance Sheet) for Week Ending September 7, 2017; Stanley Fischer Announces His Resignation


Of Note

(1) On September 6, 2017, Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board, Stanley Fischer, announced his intention to resign on or about October 13, 2017.


 

The Federal Reserve Board (Board) publishes a weekly digest of its activities on its website. The digest is called the H.2 Release and is published every Thursday. The release for the week ending September 2, 2017, is below.

H.2 Release–Actions of the Board, Its Staff, and the Federal Reserve Banks; Applications and Reports Received

Category Action Taken
Advisory Councils Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council — announcement of members and designation of Gilda M. Nogueira as president and Christopher D. Maher as vice president for 2018.
-Announced, August 30, 2017
Bank Holding Companies Sterling Bancorp, Montebello, New York — to acquire Astoria Financial Corporation, Lake Success, and thereby indirectly acquire Astoria Bank, a federal savings association, Long Island City.
-Approved, August 29, 2017 
Board Operations Fed History Vision Project — for the Fed History Vision Phase II team to proceed with the “proof of concept” exercise.
-Approved, August 29, 2017
Forms Forms — final Board review to extend without revision the Notification of Nonfinancial Data Processing Activities (FR 4021).
-Approved, August 29, 2017Forms — final Board review to extend without revision the Government-Administered, General-Use Prepaid Card Surveys (FR 3063a and FR 3063b).
-Approved, August 30, 2017

 

Personnel Division of Monetary Affairs — appointment of Rochelle Edge as deputy director.
-Announced, September 1, 2017
Regulations and Policies Regulations Q, WW, and YY — final rule to enhance financial stability by requiring U.S. global systemically important banking institutions (GSIBs) and the U.S. operations of foreign GSIBs to amend qualified financial contracts to prevent their immediate cancellation or termination if the firm enters bankruptcy or a resolution process.
-Approved, September 1, 2017
Reserve Bank Services Payment System — to publish jointly with the Federal Reserve Banks a paper, Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System: Federal Reserve Next Steps in the Payments Improvement Journey.
-Approved, August 29, 2017
Enforcement Four Oaks Bank and Trust Company, Four Oaks, North Carolina — issuance of a consent order of prohibition against James M. Riley, a former employee and institution-affiliated party.
-Announced, August 29, 2017
The State Bank of Geneva, Geneva, Illinois — written agreement dated September 10, 2012, terminated August 29, 2017.
-Announced, August 30, 2017

Federal Reserve Board: Balance Sheet (H.4.1 Release)

The Board publishes data of factors affecting reserve balances. The digest is called the H.4.1 Release, and they are published every Thursday (or the next business day if the publication date falls on a federal holiday). The release for September 7, 2017, is below.

[Note: The blog will cover the line titled “Total Factors Supplying Reserve Funds.”]

H.4.1 Release–Factors Affecting Reserve Balances

Total factors supplying reserve funds (as of September 6, 2017):  $4,500,007 (in millions of dollars). (On September 26, 2007, this amount was $900,473 (in millions of dollars)).

(See the release for further information.)