Most people are aware that there is a government body that acts as a guardian over the economy but may not be quite sure how or why. The Federal Reserve is headed by Board of Governors. The seven members of the Board are appointed by the president, subject to confirmation by the Senate. The Federal Reserve Board known as the FED is an independant entity but is over seen by congress. The board sets Fed policy regarding the discount rate and reserve requirements (among other key economic decisions) and before the FED was created in 1913 the markets were often unstable.
Alan Greenspan has been the Chairman of the Federal Reserve board since August 1987.
The central banking authority is responsible for monetary policy in the United States.
Monetary policy is the management of the money supply and interest rates. The Federal Reserve uses interest rate to control the supply of money. Cheaper rates mean money is easier to access because companies can afford with lower payments. If rates go up companies can afford less money therefore limiting grow in the economy.
The Federal Reserve Board's objective is to control the nation's economy by influencing the supply of money and in turn the cost of money. The Fed accomplishes this by; (1) buying and selling government securities in the open market, thereby influencing the reserves in the banking system; (2) setting the Discount Rate, a short term rate at which commercial banks borrow funds from the Fed; (3) setting the targeted Fed Funds rate, a rate at which banks borrow overnight funds from each other, usually to comply with the reserve requirements; and (4) setting the Reserve Requirement, a ratio at which banks must hold in reserve against the deposits in accounts.
Ben Bernanke has been the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board since February 2006.
The funds rate is currently increasing to hedge against inflation in property values.
The Federal Reserve Board manages the Federal Reserve System, that is made up of 12 federal reserve banks. The primary responsibilities are to prevent inflation. This is accomplished not only through monetary policy, but by setting the discount rate.
Recently, the subprime market and adjustble rate mortgage rates have been most effected.
It is somewhat of a myth that changes in the fed funds rate by the Federal Reserve will have an imediate imapact on mortgage rates.
The fed funds rate is a very short term rate and ususally does not directly affect long term instruments such as mortgages.
When the Federal Reserve raises the Prime Rate it does not affect regular mortgage rates as much as one would think. Home Equity Lines Of Credit are directly affected by the raising of the Prime Rate but the majority of loans are priced off of a different standard called mortgage backed securities.