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E. Gerald Corrigan, Who Helped Ease ’87 Stock Crash, Dies at 80


E. Gerald Corrigan, who because the aggressive president of the Recent York Federal Reserve Bank helped cushion Wall Street’s crash within the late Eighties, died on May 17 in a memory-care center in Dedham, Mass. He was 80.

The cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease, his daughter Elizabeth Corrigan said.

As president of the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis from 1980 to 1984 after which of the Recent York Fed from 1985 to 1993, Mr. Corrigan used his prerogatives as a regulator to assist resolve national and global financial crises, and to treatment among the causes of episodic market instability.

“He played an important role providing the psychological reassurance for just a few critical days after the stock market crash,” Paul A. Volcker, the previous Federal Reserve Board chairman, said when Mr. Corrigan retired from the Fed in 1993, referring to his actions after the Dow Jones industrial average dropped greater than 22 percent in a single day in October 1987.

In that upheaval, Mr. Corrigan urged the Fed chairman, Alan Greenspan, to reassure the markets that the Federal Reserve would pump whatever money was vital into the economic system to cut back volatility. He also played vital roles in other crises: He helped the Fed to deal with the collapse of the investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert in 1989 and of Salomon Brothers in 1991, and to take care of rising inflation, emerging market debt and the necessity to manage worldwide credit risk.

After Mr. Corrigan retired from the Fed, he joined Goldman Sachs, where he became managing director in 1996 and later chairman of the firm’s international advisers, co-chairman of its business standards committee and the primary nonexecutive chairman of its industrial bank, now often known as Goldman Sachs Bank. He retired from Goldman in 2016.

Edward Gerald Corrigan, often known as Jerry, was born on June 13, 1941, in Waterbury, Conn. His father, Edward, was a restaurant manager. His mother, Mary (Hardy) Corrigan, was a librarian.

He earned a Bachelor of Social Science degree in economics from Fairfield University in Connecticut in 1963. At Fordham University in Recent York, he received a master’s degree in economics in 1965 and a doctorate in the identical subject in 1971. (Years later, he donated $5 million to every university to ascertain professorships.)

After teaching for a 12 months at Fordham, he joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Recent York as a researcher in 1968 while still working on his doctorate. When Mr. Volcker, the Recent York Fed’s president, became chairman of the Federal Reserve Board in 1979, he recruited Mr. Corrigan as a special assistant.

During his tenure on the Fed, Mr. Corrigan was named chairman of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision by the governors of the world’s central banks, a position he held from 1991 to 1993. He also served as vice chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee from 1984 to 1993. In 1992 he was named a co-chairman of the Russian-American Bankers Forum, which helped the previous Soviet Union develop a market-driven banking and economic system.

Along with his daughter Elizabeth, Mr. Corrigan is survived by one other daughter, Karen Corrigan Tate, from his marriage to Linda Barlow, which led to divorce; his wife, Cathy Minehan, who was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston from 1994 to 2007; his stepchildren, Melissa Minehan Walters and Brian Minehan; a sister, Patricia Carlascio; and five grandchildren.

Mr. Corrigan’s romance with Ms. Minehan raised questions of a possible conflict of interest when she was on the Fed and he was at Goldman Sachs within the mid-Nineties, but he said on the time that that they had consulted lawyers to forestall leaks of sensitive information that may profit his company.

During his stewardship, the Fed was criticized for failing to curb abuses by the scandal-scarred Bank of Credit and Commerce International. But Mr. Corrigan said when he retired that “if it wasn’t for the Fed, there’s a fairly good likelihood that B.C.C.I. would still be in business.”

In his remarks in 1993, Mr. Volcker said Mr. Corrigan had “ conceptual understanding of the financial world, but most significantly he knows get things done.”

“That’s a rare quality within the bureaucratic world during which he has grown up,” Mr. Volcker added.

When the market crashed in 1987, for instance, Fed officials planned to deliver a turgid technical response.

“I said that’s the last rattling thing we want,” Mr. Corrigan was quoted as saying in Sebastian Mallaby’s “The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan” (2016). “What we want is a press release that has about 10 words in it.”

Mr. Greenspan took Mr. Corrigan’s advice, saying (in 30 words) that the Fed would make available whatever money was needed while Mr. Corrigan importuned major banks to proceed lending to undergird the markets.

When Mr. Corrigan retired from the Fed, he said he would take a job in private industry where “I’ll attempt to limit myself to working six days per week, as an alternative of seven.” The aftermath of the market crash in 1987, he said, had been his most memorable moment.

“When it comes to my pulse rate,” he said, “that one takes the prize.”

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