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Federal Reserve System

Twentieth Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20551


Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
CHAIRJerome H. Powell
Vice ChairLael Brainard
Vice Chair for Supervision(vacancy)

Michelle W. Bowman
Lisa D. Cook
Philip N. Jefferson
Christopher J. Waller

Assistant to the Board and DirectorMichelle A. Smith

Federal Reserve Bank Presidents

Federal Reserve Bank Presidents
NEW YORKJohn C. Williams

AtlantaRaphael W. Bostic
BostonSusan M. Collins (eff. 7–1–22)
ChicagoCharles L. Evans
ClevelandLoretta J. Mester
DallasLorie K. Logan (eff. 8–22–22)
Kansas CityEsther L. George
MinneapolisNeel T. Kashkari
PhiladelphiaPatrick T. Harker
RichmondThomas I. Barkin
San FranciscoMary C. Daly
St. LouisJames B. Bullard

Official Staff

Official Staff
Chief Operating OfficerPatrick J. McClanahan
General CounselMark E. Van Der Weide
SecretaryAnn E. Misback

Consumer and Community AffairsEric S. Belsky
Financial ManagementRicardo A. Aguilera
Financial StabilityAndreas W. Lehnert
Information TechnologySharon L. Mowry
International FinanceBeth Anne Wilson
ManagementWinona Varnon
Monetary AffairsTrevor A. Reeve
Research and StatisticsStacey M. Tevlin
Reserve Bank Operations and Payment SystemsMatthew J. Eichner
Supervision and RegulationMichael S. Gibson
Inspector GeneralMark Bialek

The Federal Reserve System keeps the Nation's monetary and financial system flexible, safe, and stable.


On December 23, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson approved Public Law 63–43, whose short title is the "Federal Reserve Act." The Act provided "for the establishment of Federal reserve banks, to furnish an elastic currency, to afford means of rediscounting commercial paper, to establish a more effective supervision of banking in the United States." Pursuant to the Act, the Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of the Treasury, and Comptroller of the Currency, constituting The Reserve Bank Organization Committee, designated "not less than eight nor more than twelve cities to be known as Federal reserve cities" and divided "the continental United States, excluding Alaska, into districts, each district to contain only one of such Federal reserve cities" (38 Stat. 251).

On August 23, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved Public Law 74–305, which is also cited as the Banking Act of 1935. The new law provided "for the sound, effective, and uninterrupted operation of the banking system" (49 Stat. 684), amending parts of the Federal Reserve Act. One of the amendments to the earlier Act renamed the Federal Reserve Board: It now became "known as the 'Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.'" The Federal Reserve Board's "governor" and "vice governor" also became "known as the 'chairman' and the 'vice chairman,' respectively, of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System" (49 Stat. 704).

An organizational chart is accessible in Portable Document Format (PDF) on the "Structure of the Federal Reserve System" web page under "Board Responsibilities."


Statutory material on the subject of banks and banking is codified in 12 U.S.C. The third chapter, sections 221–522, of title 12 is dedicated to the Federal Reserve System.

Rules and regulations whose subject matter is banks or banking are codified in 12 CFR.

Subchapter A, parts 200–269b, of 12 CFR is dedicated to codified subject matter associated with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Subchapter B, parts 270–281, of 12 CFR is dedicated to codified subject matter associated with the Federal Open Market Committee.


The FRS comprises the Board of Governors; the 12 Federal reserve banks and their branches and other facilities; the Federal Open Market Committee; the Federal Advisory Council; the Consumer Advisory Council; the Thrift Institutions Advisory Council; and the Nation's financial institutions, including commercial banks, savings and loan associations, mutual savings banks, and credit unions.

Board of Governors

The Board comprises seven members whom the President appoints by the advice and with the consent of the Senate. The President also designates a chair and two vice chairs by the advice and with the consent of the Senate. The Chair of the Board is a member of the National Advisory Council on International Monetary and Financial Policies, which is chaired by the Secretary of the Department of the Treasury. The Board determines general monetary, credit, and operating policies for the FRS as a whole and formulates the rules and regulations for carrying out the purposes of the Federal Reserve Act. The Board's principal duties consist of monitoring credit conditions; supervising the Federal reserve banks, member banks, and bank holding companies; and regulating the implementation of some consumer credit protection laws.

Within statutory limitations, the Board has the power to fix the requirements for reserves that depository institutions maintain on transaction accounts or nonpersonal time deposits (an interest-bearing bank deposit account that has a date of maturity, such as a certificate of deposit). The Board reviews and determines the discount rate charged by the Federal reserve banks. For the purpose of preventing excessive credit use for the purchase or carrying of securities, the Board regulates the amount of credit that may be initially extended and subsequently maintained on securities (with certain exceptions).

Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)

The Committee comprises the Board of Governors and five of the presidents of the Federal reserve banks. The Chair of the Board of Governors is traditionally the Chair of the FOMC. The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York serves as a permanent member. Four of the other 11 reserve bank presidents rotate annually as voting members of the FOMC.

The Federal reserve banks carry out open market operations in accordance with regulations that the FOMC adopts and pursuant to specific policy directives that it issues. Purchases and sales of securities in the open market are undertaken to supply bank reserves for supporting the credit and money needed for long-term economic growth, for offsetting cyclical economic swings, and for accommodating seasonal business and consumer demand for money and credit. These operations are carried out principally in U.S. Government obligations, but they also include purchases and sales of Federal agency obligations. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York executes transactions for the FRS open market account.

Under the FOMC's direction, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York also undertakes transactions in foreign currencies for the FRS open market account. These operations are meant to safeguard the value of the dollar in international exchange markets and facilitate growth in international liquidity in accordance with the needs of an expanding world economy.

Federal Reserve Banks

The 12 reserve banks and their branches function as the operating arms of the FRS. Each reserve bank operates within its own geographic area, or district, of the United States and gathers data and other information on the businesses and the needs of local communities in that district. The FOMC and Board of Governors then factor that information into monetary policy and other decisions.


By influencing the lending and investing of depository institutions and the cost and availability of money and credit, the FRS promotes use of human and capital resources, growth of productivity, relatively stable prices, and equilibrium in the Nation's international balance of payments. The agency's supervisory and regulatory banking functions help maintain a commercial banking system that responds to the Nation's financial needs and objectives.

Conducting Monetary Policy

The FRS seeks price stability, moderate long-term interest rates, and maximum employment. Under normal economic conditions, the FOMC sets monetary policy by selecting an interest rate. To a bank, that interest rate is the cost of holding reserves. (Reserves are funds held by depository institutions as cash in their vaults or as deposits with their regional Federal reserve bank.) In recent years, the FRS has set a target, or target range, for the Federal funds rate, which is the interest rate that commercial banks charge each other for borrowing reserves for short periods. The open market desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York then conducts open market operations—buying or selling U.S. Treasury securities—to change the amount of reserves in the banking system to adjust the Federal funds rate. Since the Federal funds rate is the price of borrowing reserves, open market operations bring the actual Federal funds rate in line with the FOMC’s target. The strategy to vary the quantity or the price of reserves in the banking system defines FRS monetary policy.

Financial Supervision and Regulation

Supervision refers to the oversight and enforcement of regulations to ensure safe and sound banking behavior. The FRS's supervisory and regulatory actions help to build confidence in the banking system. Protecting the integrity of the Nation’s financial institutions, fostering stability in financial markets, ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and encouraging banking institutions to meet responsibly the financial needs of their communities, promote financial stability. The FRS supervises and regulates State member banks (State chartered banks that have chosen to become members of the FRS) and bank and financial holding companies (companies that own banks). The agency also supervises overseas and international operations of regulated financial institutions. Foreign banks with U.S. branches, agencies, and nonbank operations are also subject to supervision. The FRS's banking supervision and regulation units work with other regulators and authorities to ensure that regulations are uniformly applied and consistently enforced throughout the banking system.

Payment Services

The FRS provides payment services, including processing checks and electronic payments, to commercial banks and other depository institutions. The FRS operates a nationwide check clearing system. Traditionally, depository institutions sent the actual paper checks that they had received to reserve banks, which processed and routed them to the originating depository institution for collection. These institutions used their Federal reserve accounts to settle the transactions. Since enactment of the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, which is also cited as the Check 21 Act, institutions have been using electronic check clearing options. The Check 21 Act enabled reserve banks to employ electronic image-based solutions for the exchange of check data between depository institutions. Ongoing industry advances continue to improve the process of check clearing and to renew the FRS's role in that process.

The FRS provides two types of electronic payment services: fund transfers (Fedwire) and the Automated Clearinghouse (ACH). Fedwire processes payments of all sizes up to a maximum of just less than $10 billion. ACH is used mostly for recurring payments, such as business payrolls, consumer insurance payments, and the U.S. Government’s military and civilian payrolls and Social Security benefits.

Protecting and Educating Consumers

The FRS has consumer protection responsibilities. The agency writes consumer protection regulations for the financial industry and enforces consumer protection and civil rights laws and regulations at the banks that it supervises. Community affairs offices across the FRS promote community development and fair and impartial access to credit. In each district of the FRS, economic education offices increase the public’s understanding of the role that the FRS plays in the economy.

Services for the Department of the Treasury

As banker and fiscal agent for the Department of the Treasury, the FRS provides services for the Government, primarily through depository institutions. Federal reserve banks provide the Treasury with a checking account. When the Government makes a payment by check or electronically, that payment is usually cashed by or deposited in a commercial bank or similar institution. The FRS processes the payment and deducts the amount from the Treasury's account. Although the Treasury usually keeps the money received from tax payments on deposit at commercial banks, it transfers funds to a Federal reserve bank as needed to make payments. The Federal Government has reduced costs and improved service to the public by using the FRS's electronic payments network. Most regular Federal Government payments, such as Social Security benefits and the Government payroll, are direct deposits made through the FRS's automated clearinghouse service.

Acting as the U.S. fiscal agent, reserve banks sell, transfer, and redeem Government securities; make interest payments on these securities; and assist the Treasury and other Federal Government agencies with their securities in other ways. These actions are done electronically through a system called "Treasury Direct." The Treasury and Federal agencies reimburse the reserve banks for expenses associated with these fiscal agency functions.

Most currency enters circulation and exits circulation through the Federal reserve banks. As the public demands currency from the banking system, depository institutions draw down their accounts at the reserve banks in exchange for additional currency. When currency from the public flows back into depository institutions, those institutions deposit the surplus in their reserve banks. The Department of the Treasury designs and produces U.S. paper money and coin. As the Treasury produces currency, reserve banks put the new money into circulation to meet public needs. The FRS also destroys money that is no longer fit for circulation. By crediting the Government’s account, reserve banks “buy" new paper money and coin from the Treasury to replace the notes that they destroy and coin that they return to the U.S. Mint.

Sources of Information

A–Z Index

An alphabetical subject index helps visitors navigate the website's content.

Archived Records

The "Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States" indicates that FRS records have been assigned to record group 082.

Beige Book

The “Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District" is published eight times per year. Each Federal reserve bank gathers anecdotal information on current economic conditions in its district through reports from bank and branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources. The "Summary" or "Beige Book" summarizes this information by district and sector. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis maintains an online "Beige Book" archives whose content goes back to 1970.

Business Opportunities

The FRS generally relies on competitive bidding procedures for purchasing supplies and acquiring services. The process involves issuing a solicitation. Companies respond by submitting bids. The agency awards contracts after evaluating the bidders' prices, and in some cases, their technical abilities.


An electronic calendar of FRS events, past and future, is available online.

Career Opportunities

The FRS relies on attorneys, economists, financial analysts, research assistants, information technology experts, and other skilled professionals to carry out its mission.

Consumer Help

The FRS can help a consumer who is having a problem with a bank or other financial institution. Phone, 888-851-1920. TTY, 877-766-8533. Fax, 877-888-2520.

Contact Information

To speak with an FRS operator, call 202-452-3000. TDD, 202-263-4869.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19)

The FRS has published a "Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19)" web page where it posts informational resources and its most recent actions to mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic.

Currency Academy

The U.S. Currency Education Program website runs the online Currency Academy, where learning about U.S. currency, or money, is fun.

Federal Register

Significant documents and documents that the FRS recently published in the Federal Register are accessible online.

Fine Arts

Like all Federal agencies, the Board of Governors may receive gifts of artwork and funds to purchase art. In 1975, former Chairman Arthur F. Burns established the agency's fine arts program. He was responding to President Richard Nixon's urgent desire to continue the development of "the growing partnership between Government and the arts." Chairman Burns created the program to collect and care for artwork and to organize exhibitions in the historic Marriner S. Eccles building. The collection holds more than 1,000 works of art that private individuals have donated. To view a gallery of the Board's permanent collection, visit the "Fine Arts Program" page.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

A request for information may be submitted online with an electronic request form; made in writing and mailed to the Information Disclosure Section, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20551; or sent by facsimile to the Information Disclosure Section. Fax, 202-872-7565.

The FRS has a FOIA service center to help information seekers learn about the status of a FOIA request or get answers to questions regarding the freedom of information process. The center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday–Friday. Phone, 202-452-3684.

The FRS maintains electronic FIOA reading rooms. Before submitting a FOIA request, a requester should browse or search the content of the online reading rooms to ensure that the desired information is not already accessible immediately and free of charge.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The FRS posts answers to FAQs on its website.


The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond included a short glossary in its 16th edition (2012) of "The Federal Reserve Today." The glossary starts on page 35.


"Hello! This is Liberty speaking—billions of dollars are needed and needed NOW." That message came from Lady Liberty, according to a World War I era depiction of her. To learn more about the role that the FRS played in financing U.S. participation in World War I, visit the "Federal Reserve History" website.

In 1957, shortly after the U.S. Congress had enacted a law making "In God We Trust" the official national motto, the first dollar bills bearing the same four words entered circulation. To learn more about the history of American currency, visit the U.S. Currency Education Program's history section.

Interest Rates

As part of the "Fed Listens" series, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted a conference (June 2019) on monetary policy strategy, tools, and communication practices. Chair of the Board of Governors Jerome H. Powell gave the opening remarks and spoke about the effective lower bound of interest rates and monetary policy tools.

Monetary Policy

The Federal Reserve Board prepares a semiannual report that discusses monetary policy management, economic developments, and future prospects. It submits this report, which is called the "Monetary Policy Report," to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and to the House Committee on Financial Services.

As part of the "Fed Listens" series, Governor Lael Brainard participated in a community listening session at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond (May 2019). Her short presentation was titled "How Does Monetary Policy Affect Your Community?"

Money-Financed Fiscal Programs

William B. English, Christopher J. Erceg, and David Lopez-Salido published the staff working paper "Money-Financed Fiscal Programs: A Cautionary Tale" in the Finance and Economics Discussion Series (2017–060) to stimulate discussion and critical comment. In the paper's abstract they wrote: "A number of prominent economists and policymakers have argued that money-financed fiscal programs (helicopter drops) could be efficacious in boosting output and inflation in economies facing persistent economic weakness, very low inflation, and significant fiscal strains. . . . While we do find that money-financed fiscal programs, if communicated successfully and seen as credible by the public, could provide significant stimulus, we underscore the risks that would be associated with such a program."

News / Events

The FRS posts press releases, speeches, and testimonies online.

Open Government

The FRS supports the Open Government initiative by promoting collaboration, participation, and transparency.

Photo Gallery

The FRS posts photographs on its website. High resolution images are available on its Flickr photostream.


The FRS posts its publications online. The agency's most requested publications are its annual report, "Monetary Policy Report," supervision manuals, and "The Federal Reserve System Purposes and Functions."

Quantitative Easing

Michael T. Kiley's working paper "Quantitative Easing and the 'New Normal' in Monetary Policy" is meant to stimulate discussion and critical comment on the economic effects of applying this monetary policy tool.

Recent Postings

The most recent postings of the FRS are available on a single web page.

Site Map

The website map allows visitors to look for specific topics or to browse for content that aligns with their interests.

Social Media

The FRS maintains a presence on Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

What Is The Fed?

The Federal Reserve, which is often referred to as "the Fed," serves as the central bank of the United States. The U.S. Congress created the Fed in 1913 to promote a safer and sounder monetary and financial system for the Nation. To learn more about the Fed, watch the 3-minute video.