Rebecca newsnconomics helped me out.
Hi John “To me, it is a subtle point (as you stated), and basically a technicality. First, Bernanke coined the Credit Easing policy (CE) to differentiate the Fed's actions from QE. Basically, the biggest difference is that the Fed is not targeting a level of reserves, as the Bank of Japan did. They also differentiate CE as a composition story, asset side (Bank credit) versus liabilities side (currency).
CE is growing the asset side of the balance sheet by extending different types of credit, with the only target being "getting credit markets functioning again". The BoJ, on the other hand, focused on the liabilities side by increasing the reserve base (mostly currency and other liquid stuff) to a target - let's say 35 trillion yen. Check out Bernanke at the LSE in January this year." So I did.
Bernanke at the LSE: "The Federal Reserve's approach to supporting credit markets is conceptually distinct from quantitative easing (QE), the policy approach used by the Bank of Japan from 2001 to 2006.
Credit easing resembles quantitative easing since it involves an expansion of the central bank's balance sheet. However, in a pure QE regime, the focus of policy is the quantity of bank reserves, which are liabilities of the central bank; the composition of loans and securities on the asset side of the central bank's balance sheet is incidental.
In contrast, the Federal Reserve's credit easing approach focuses on the mix of loans and securities that it holds and on how this composition of assets affects credit conditions for households and businesses. [rather than setting and being restricted to a quantum reserve target.]
Yesterday, the Governor of the Bank suggested we are currently involved in Credit Easing and the time has not yet come (but may soon) for QE. Whereas Bernanke states CE rules and QE is out as a policy option. Nevertheless I think I have got it now, not sure everyone has. Incidentally, the Governor confirmed ZIRP is not a prerequisite for QE and further reductions base rates may be pointless.