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Federal Reserve

Overview#

Federal Reserve (FED) is the Central Banking System of the United States federal government.

Federal Reserve was created on December 23, 1913, with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, after a series of financial panics (particularly the panic of 1907) led to the desire for central control of the monetary system in order to alleviate financial crises.

Over the years, events such as the Great Depression in the 1930s and the Great Recession during the 2000s have led to the expansion of the roles and responsibilities of the Federal Reserve System.

Although an instrument of the United States federal government, the Federal Reserve System considers itself "an independent Central Banking System because its monetary policy decisions do NOT have to be approved by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branches of government, Federal Reserve does not receive funding appropriated by the United States Congress, and the terms of the members of the Board of Governors span multiple presidential and congressional terms." The United States federal government sets the salaries of the board's seven governors.

There are 12 Federal Reserve Bank, each of which is responsible for Federal Reserve Member Banks located in the Federal Reserve Bank district. The size of each district was set based upon the population distribution of the United States when the Federal Reserve Act was passed. The charter and organization of each Federal Reserve Bank is established by law and cannot be altered by the member banks. Federal Reserve Member Banks, do however, elect six of the nine members of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

Federal Reserve System has both public and private components. The structure is considered unique among Central Banking Systems.

Federal Reserve is also unusual in that the United States Department of the Treasury is entity outside of the Central Banking System, prints the currency used.

The United States federal government receives all the system's annual profits, after a statutory dividend of 6% on Federal Reserve Member Banks' capital investment is paid, and an account surplus is maintained.

In 2015, the Federal Reserve made a profit of $100.2 billion and transferred $97.7 billion to the United States Department of the Treasury.

Federal Reserve Layers#

Federal Reserve is composed of several layers.

Federal Reserve Board of Governors (FRB)#

Federal Reserve is governed by the presidentially appointed Federal Reserve Board of Governors (FRB).

Federal Reserve Banks#

Twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, located in cities throughout the nation, oversee the privately owned Federal Reserve Member Banks. Nationally chartered commercial banks are required to hold stock in the Federal Reserve Bank of their region, which entitles them to elect some of the members for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)#

Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) sets monetary policy; it consists of all seven members of the Board of Governors and the twelve regional bank presidents, though only five bank presidents vote at any given time: the president of the New York Fed and four others who rotate through one-year terms. There are also various advisory councils.

Federal Advisory Council#

Federal Advisory Council, composed of twelve representatives of the banking industry, advises the board on all matters within its jurisdiction.

Federal Reserve Member Banks#

A Federal Reserve Member Bank is a private institution and owns stock in its regional Federal Reserve Bank.

United States National Payment System#

Federal Reserve plays an important role in the United States National Payment System. The twelve Federal Reserve Banks provide banking services to depository institutions and to the United States federal government. For depository institutions, they maintain accounts and provide various payment services, including collecting checks, electronically transferring funds, and distributing and receiving currency and coin. For the United States federal government, the Federal Reserve Banks act as fiscal agents, paying United States Department of the Treasury checks; processing electronic payments; and issuing, transferring, and redeeming United States federal government securities.

In the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980, Congress reaffirmed that the Federal Reserve should promote an efficient United States National Payment System. The act subjects all depository institutions, not just Federal Reserve Member Banks, to reserve requirements and grants them equal access to United States National Payment System. The Federal Reserve plays a role in the nation's retail and wholesale payments systems by providing financial services to depository institutions. Retail payments are generally for relatively small-dollar amounts and often involve a depository institution's retail clients‍—‌individuals and smaller businesses. The Federal Reserve Banks' retail services include distributing currency and coin, collecting checks, and electronically transferring funds through the automated clearinghouse system. By contrast, wholesale payments are generally for large-dollar amounts and often involve a depository institution's large corporate customers or counterparties, including other financial institutions. The Reserve Banks' wholesale services include electronically transferring funds through the Federal Reserve Wire Network (Fedwire)

More Information#

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