The Federal Reserve System Discount Window functions as a safety valve in relieving pressures in reserve markets. In circumstances where extensions of credit can help relieve liquidity strains in the banking system, the Discount Window also helps to assure the basic stability of financial markets more generally. The Discount Window is administered in each Federal Reserve District for the District’s depository institutions.
The primary credit program is the principal safety valve for ensuring adequate liquidity in the banking system and a backup source of short-term funds for generally sound depository institutions. Secondary credit is available to meet backup funding needs of depository institutions that do not qualify for primary credit. Seasonal credit is available to depository institutions that can demonstrate a clear pattern of recurring intra-yearly swings in funding needs. As always, Discount Window loans must be secured by collateral acceptable to the lending Reserve Bank.