Federal Reserve > Monetary Policy • Bank Supervision • Financial Services
The Federal Reserve Bank — more commonly known as the
Federal Reserve or
simply the Fed — is the United States' central bank, charged with
ensuring the stability and flexibility of the nation's monetary and
Most developed countries manage their own economic affairs, and have a national currency as well as a central bank — Sweden's is the oldest, formed in 1668. The European Central Bank, perhaps the newest, was formed in 1998 and took over many of the functions of its large member countries' central banks, including Germany's Bundesbank and the Banque de France.
The Federal Reserve is structured to be independent within the federal government. The Federal Reserve System follows its Congressional charter; the Chairman of the Board of Governors reports to Congress; but the Fed's decisions are independent of both the Congress and the President of the United States — hence the phrase independent within the government.
Since the Fed was established by the Federal Reserve Act in 1913, its roles and responsibilities have evolved. Currently, the Fed has three primary areas of responsibility:
Getting to Know the Federal ReserveTo learn more about the role of the Federal Reserve Bank in the United States economy, read the following detailed articles on this website:
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Guide to the Federal Reserve