WASHINGTON — The controversial financial market interventions that have stoked populist anger and opened the Federal Reserve Board to unprecedented political pressure were necessary to avoid a far deeper financial crisis, Chairman Ben Bernanke told lawmakers during his confirmation hearing on Thursday.

"We played a central role in efforts to quell the financial turmoil, for example, through our joint efforts with other agencies and foreign authorities to avert a collapse of the global banking system last fall," he told the Senate Banking Committee in written testimony.

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