字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント The Federal Reserve, or the Fed, is the central bank of the United States. So what's the difference between the Fed and a commercial bank like this one? Let's say I use a bank to deposit and withdraw cash or to take out a loan. When I deposit money at a bank, the bank doesn't just hold on to my cash, it lends it out to other customers. The bank serves as an important middleman in the economy. But if everyone tries to take out money at the same time, a bank might not have enough cash on hand. That's when a central bank could step in to lend extra cash so the bank can stay open. The U.S. Congress created the Fed in 1913 after a series of financial panics to stabilize and supervise the country's banking system. The Federal Reserve Act established the Fed as a bank to other banks, where it cleared checks and provided currency. Congress also tasked the Fed with what would become its most important job, conducting monetary policy. Monetary policy is how the Fed changes interest rates, basically the amount you, the borrower, can be charged for borrowing money. Fed interest rates can affect anything from how much you pay for a car loan or a home mortgage. The Fed funds target rate determines how much banks pay to lend to each other, which in turn affects the amount of money businesses and consumers have to spend. When the Fed sets its target rate it has two key goals in mind stable prices and maximum employment. The Fed wants prices to stay stable so you can plan your current and future budgets. Think of Germany where the price for a loaf of bread increased from one mark in 1918 to 200 billion marks five years later. The Fed also has to keep a close eye on employment. If unemployment is high, the Fed lowers interest rates to encourage businesses and consumers to borrow and spend their money instead of saving it. That's what the Fed did during the financial crisis. When the unemployment rate spiked in 2008, the Fed lowered its key rate to zero. It also took unprecedented steps to lower rates by buying assets like government bonds from financial institutions. This pumped money into the economy to encourage banks to lend. The Fed's policies have helped the jobs market recover but not everyone is happy, especially savers who have basically made no interest on their money in the bank for the past 10 years. Some have even called to abolish the Fed altogether. Some politicians have called the Fed political for keeping interest rates so low. But even though the Fed is ultimately held accountable by Congress, it operates as an independent entity. The Fed is made up of the Board of Governors which includes seven members called Governors including the Fed Chair and Vice Chair. Fed Governors are appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. The Fed also includes 12 regional reserve banks in cities across the country. Each regional bank has its own Fed President. Governors and rotating Fed Presidents meet eight times a year in Washington and they vote on where to set rates. Other central banks around the world and traders keep a very close eye on Fed decisions. That's because the smallest change in Fed policy can ripple throughout stock markets ultimately down to your own pocketbook.