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What is the Federal Reserve?

Posted by Leslie L. Horgan | Client Service Specialist

August 9, 2017

The Federal Reserve (Fed) met on July 25 and 26 with little fanfare, since they did not end up raising interest rates. In a statement, the Fed said the job market continues to strengthen, but inflation remains somewhat of a concern. Inflation metrics have fallen below the 2% threshold the Fed considers healthy, and as such the central bank will be “monitoring inflation developments closely.”

The Fed gets quite a bit of media attention, and it got us thinking: for many normal investors and retirees, the Federal Reserve is probably an institution shrouded in mystery. What is the Federal Reserve? How did they come into existence? Are they as important as everyone says they are?1

There is no way we can cover all of that ground in this post, but we figured offering four little-known facts about the Federal Reserve could at least help readers get to know the institution a bit better. Here they are:

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