If Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) data is free, why pay for it?

If Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) data is free, why pay for it?

Actually, FRB data is, in fact, free.

Background: Test data was needed for another database project and the Federal Reserve Bank is a good source. We didn’t need everything they have. However, it turned out all FRB statistical releases are fairly consistent being distributed on top of the SDMX standard.  Since we already built an automated ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) process to download and handle FRB data according to that standard, we figured why not do all of them.

Here are the main reasons FRB_SR is a good value:

1) The FRB website limits downloads in a fashion that is a bit cumbersome and disorganized.
2) The FRB data downloads are not in a readily usable format.
3) The FRB and SDMX folks, being (quasi) government agencies, have a tendency to be a little careless about making “unannounced changes” . . . four times in the last six months . . . which are show stoppers. Adjusting for this is a relatively easy fix for us since it is a simple code change . . . and we are use to it.
)4 ROI . . . FRB_SR is cost effective.  Over the past many years we have designed, developed, maintained, debugged and reverse engineered countless data applications and systems . . . based on our experience an organization will spend thousands PER MONTH to built and administer a similar process.

So, the fee is not for the data but for doing the ETL process, packaging it in a real database, and distribution.



Author: Mike McIver, MCSE

SQL Server Architecture, Design, Development and Administration

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