U.S. Federal Reserve Banks

Explanation of what the U.S. Federal Reserve Banks are and what they do.

The U.S. Federal Reserve Banks are quasi-public incorporated institutions owned by the private commercial banks in the district who are members of the U.S. Federal Reserve System.

There are 12 U.S. Federal Reserve districts, with each district having its own U.S. Federal Reserve bank. These banks are located in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, San Francisco.

View a map of the U.S. Federal Reserve districts and the banks that govern them.

The 12 U.S. Federal Reserve Banks have the following functions:

  • Clear checks
  • Issue new currency
  • Withdraw damaged currency from circulation
  • Evaluate some merger applications
  • Administer and make discount loans to banks in their districts
  • Act as liaisons between the business community and the U.S. Federal Reserve System
  • Examine state member banks
  • Collect data on local business conditions
  • Use their large staff of professional economists to research topics related to the conduct of monetary policy and publish reviews that present staffs' views

The 12 U.S. Federal Reserve Banks also have an active role in helping to set monetary policy:

  • They set the discount rate, which is then reviewed by the Board of Governors prior to establishment
  • They determine which banks, member and nonmember alike, can obtain discount loans from the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank
  • Each bank selects one commercial banker to serve on the U.S. Federal Advisory Council
  • Five bank presidents (the New York president always has a vote and the other four are selected from the remaining 11 banks) each have a vote in the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)