Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke made a case to Congress on Thursday that the Fed needed additional powers to oversee banks, insurance companies, hedge funds, and others. He also admitted that the Fed hasn’t done a good job protecting consumers but said improvements are being made.

We are competent and have the skills ... I think we can do that, he said.

Bernanke called for the formation of a council of regulators to police the financial system and pointed to “no-doc loans” as an example of a risky product that should be monitored by the council.

He expressed doubt that the commercial real-estate market is likely to face problems serious enough to further upset the economy.

He also warned Congress that even if the economy grows at 3 percent during each of the upcoming quarters, unemployment will still be above 9 percent at the end of 2010.

Source: The Associated Press, Jeannine Aversa (10/01/2009)