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Discovering the universe: measuring the role of finance companies in the U.S. economy

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  • Lisa Chen
  • Kathleen W. Johnson
  • Arthur B. Kennickell

Abstract

Credit to consumers and business is critical to the efficient functioning of the U.S. economy, and finance companies are a key source of such credit. Every five years, the Federal Reserve conducts a two-part survey: the Census of Finance Companies (CFC) to identify the universe of such firms and the Survey of Finance Companies (SFC) to obtain balance-sheet data from firms identified in the CFC. In 2010, this survey underwent a major revision that addressed both the absence of a comprehensive list frame and low response rates. A follow-up study of nonrespondents to the CFC was conducted to obtain information on the operating status of the unobserved firms, and their status as a finance company under the definitions of the CFC. An important complication was the presence of complicated tangles of firms within a corporate hierarchy, whereas the CFC intended to include the consolidated assets of the highest-level parent finance company in such a hierarchy; the follow-up was designed to provide information to estimate the extent of such relationships in the initial sample data. This paper describes the way the CFC and the follow-up were used to construct an estimate of the universe of finance companies.

Suggested Citation

  • Lisa Chen & Kathleen W. Johnson & Arthur B. Kennickell, 2013. "Discovering the universe: measuring the role of finance companies in the U.S. economy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-13, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2013-13
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Karen E. Dynan & Kathleen W. Johnson & Samuel M. Slowinski, 2002. "Survey of finance companies, 2000," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-14.
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