The Federal Reserve System

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, DC

As the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve System aims to support job creation, keep inflation low, and foster a stable financial system. The System serves the public interest by working to promote prosperity for people and businesses across America.

The Boston Fed, the First District of the Federal Reserve System, serves the New England region - Connecticut [except Fairfield County], Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

What the Federal Reserve System Is

The Federal Reserve System is overseen by the Federal Reserve Boardoffsite--a government agency whose members are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Twelve Reserve Banks located throughout the country serve as the System’s operating arms. Reserve Bank presidentsoffsite participate with Board membersoffsite in formulating monetary policy, ensuring that its policymakers take into account conditions in every state and across all economic sectors.

Promoting a strong economy is a shared responsibility of many policymakers. The System fosters economic growth principally through monetary policy. It is not responsible for fiscal policy: The Congress and the Administration determine how the government raises and spends money.

What the Federal Reserve System Does

Monetary Policyoffsite
The Federal Reserve System conducts monetary policy to promote maximum employment and price stability--goals given by the Congress. That means the System wants as many Americans as possible who want jobs to have jobs and it wants to restrain increases in the cost of living. The System pursues these goals primarily by influencing the level of interest rates and other financial conditions.

Financial Stability
The Federal Reserve strives to keep financial markets stable and working for creditworthy borrowers--individuals and businesses. It stands ready to make short-term, collateralized loans to banks and can, in response to severe financial strains, lend to other financial institutions. The System have never lost a penny on its lending. Because the U.S. dollar is a global currency and because the world’s economies are interdependent, it works closely with central banks and other public authorities around the world.

Banking Supervisionoffsite
With other regulatory agencies, the Federal Reserve oversees banks, other financial institutions, and financial market infrastructures to ensure they operate soundly and treat their customers fairly. It also uses its supervisory authority to help guard against threats to the stability of the financial system as a whole.

Payment Servicesoffsite
The Federal Reserve System reliably and safely processes trillions of dollars of payments for the nation’s banks and federal government. The System ensures banks have an ample supply of currency and coins to meet the demands of their depositors. And it helps the U.S. Treasury manage its financial operations.

Community Engagementoffsite
The Federal Reserve works with communities, non-profit organizations, lenders, educators, and others across the nation to encourage financial and economic literacy, address housing problems, promote equal access to credit, and advance economic and community development.

How the Federal Reserve System Does It

The Federal Reserve System was created by the Congressoffsite and work within the legal framework it established. As part of its accountability to the American people, the System reports regularly to the Congress and its leaders testify frequently before its committees. The System's financial statements are audited annually by an independent accounting firm. It is also subject to a variety of audits and independent reviews by the Government Accountability Office, its own Inspector General, and others.

The Congress specifically designed the Federal Reserve to carry out its responsibilities free of political interference so that the System can make decisions in the long-run best interest of the country.

The System publishes the Reserve Banks’ balance sheetoffsite every week and minutes of monetary policy deliberationsoffsite after every meeting. The Federal Reserve's leaders speak frequentlyoffsite and substantively in public and its Chairman responds to journalists’ questions at regular news conferences.

The Federal Reserve System operates with integrity and carefully safeguard public resources. The System conducts its work objectively, based on factual evidence and careful analysis.

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Related Links

Federal Reserve Onlineoffsite

Board of Governorsoffsite

Federal Reserve Economic Dataoffsite

Purposes and Functionsoffsite

Consumer Helpoffsite
Fed help for consumers with complaints or questions about banks or other financial institutions

Discount Windowoffsite
Fed lending to depository institutions

Economic Educationoffsite
Fed educational resources for teachers and students

Fed In Printoffsite
Research published by the Fed

Federal Reserve Jobsoffsite
Information about careers with the Federal Reserve

Financial Servicesoffsite
Fed services for bankers