The Federal Reserve Board is taking steps to ensure that banks have enough cash to meet demand in 2000.

In a notice issued Friday, the Fed requested public comment on a plan to create a temporary alternative to the discount window.

The "Century Date Change Special Liquidity Facility" would make discretionary loans to any depository institution in "sound financial condition." Borrowers would pay more than the federal funds rate, but they would not be required to seek credit elsewhere first or be limited in how they could use the funds.

"The elevated rate is expected to be sufficient to discourage most use except when market mechanisms are under stress," the Fed said.

Credit would be available from Nov. 1 through April 7. Comments on the plan are due July 2.

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