WASHINGTON: ZIRP. ZLB. ELB. Whatever the acronym, when the U.S. Federal Reserve dropped its policy rate to near zero on Dec. 16, 2008, to counter a full-scale economic crisis, it ushered in what the central bank's chairman at the time, Ben Bernanke, called "the end of the old regime."
A decade later, the full impact and import of that move are still not fully clear. But the Fed was never the same. The decision to move to zero ushered in wholesale changes to how the Fed works, from its building a massive balance sheet to adopting an explicit 2 percent inflation target and holding regular post-meeting press conferences.