Discount Window

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Discount Window'

Credit facilities in which financial institutions go to borrow funds from the Federal Reserve. These loans, which are priced at the discount rate, are often structured as secured loans to alleviate pressure in reserve markets. It helps to reduce liquidity problems for banks and assists in assuring the basic stability of financial markets.

BREAKING DOWN 'Discount Window'

The Federal Reserve has 3 rates that it charges financial institutions for using the discount window. The primary credit rate is a short-term rate charged for the most financially secure financial institutions. The secondary credit rate is a short rate that is charged for financial institutions that do not qualify for the primary rate. The seasonal credit rate is charged for debt obligations that last up to 9 months.

The Federal Reserve may lower the discount rate and/or make temporary changes to the terms of the loans in order to make the discount window a more attractive source for financial institutions to borrow from in times of financial distress.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Discount Rate

    The interest rate charged to commercial banks and other depository ...
  2. Federal Reserve Bank

    The central bank of the United States and the most powerful financial ...
  3. Federal Funds Rate

    The interest rate at which a depository institution lends funds ...
  4. Federal Reserve Credit

    Refers to the process of the Federal Reserve lending funds on ...
  5. Federal Open Market Committee - ...

    The branch of the Federal Reserve Board that determines the direction ...
  6. Federal Reserve System - FRS

    The central bank of the United States. The Fed, as it is commonly ...
Related Articles
  1. Economics

    The Federal Reserve

    Few organizations can move the market like the Federal Reserve. As an investor, it's important to understand exactly what the Fed does and how it influences the economy.
  2. Investing News

    China's Government to Stop Intervening in Stock Markets

    China’s stock market, measured by Shanghai Composite Index, lost about 17% of its value in the first three days of week ending August 28, 2015 before recovering its value by 11% in the last two ...
  3. Investing News

    Timing of the Fed Interest Rates Hike

    Until the beginning of August, Fed watchers expected the central bank to raise rates in September. However, recent news pertaining to China’s slowing economy and its devaluation of the yuan have ...
  4. Term

    Understanding the Maintenance Margin

    A maintenance margin is the minimum amount of equity that must be kept in a margin account.
  5. Economics

    What are the Federal Reserve Chairman's responsibilities?

    Learn about the duties and responsibilities of the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, including testifying before Congress and as chair of the FOMC.
  6. Economics

    Understanding the Bank Rate

    Bank rate is a term describing the interest rate a country’s central bank charges its domestic banks on loans it makes to them.
  7. Investing

    Payroll Processors, Regional Banks await Rate Hike

    Short-term interest rates are creeping higher, which is good news for money market fund managers, payroll processors and consumer banks.
  8. Economics

    Understanding Janet Yellen's Role On Interest Rates

    Learn about Janet Yellen's role at the Federal Reserve. At first she was known as a dove, but Yellen has actually been quiet hawkish.
  9. Economics

    Understanding How the Federal Reserve Creates Money

    Read about how the Federal Reserve actually targets and creates new money in the economy, and find out why the savings and loans system magnifies this process.
  10. Entrepreneurship

    Janet Yellen Success Story: Net Worth, Education & Top Quotes

    Look into the life and academic career of Janet Yellen, the first female chair of the Federal Reserve and a noted Keynesian economist.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the difference between the cost of capital and the discount rate?

    The cost of capital refers to the actual cost of financing business activity through either debt or equity capital. The discount ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the rate of return I can expect on a savings account?

    Prior to the Great Recession, savings account rates offered by banks could typically be found in the 4 to 8% range, depending ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How is the Federal Reserve audited?

    Contrary to conventional wisdom, the Federal Reserve is extensively audited. Politicians on the left and right of a populist ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Who decides when to print money in the US?

    The U.S. Treasury decides to print money in the United States as it owns and operates printing presses. However, the Federal ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Why do some people claim the Federal Reserve is unconstitutional?

    The U.S. Constitution does not mention the need for a central bank, nor does it explicitly grant the government the power ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How can the federal reserve increase aggregate demand?

    The Federal Reserve can increase aggregate demand in indirect ways by lowering interest rates. Aggregate demand is a measure ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Stock Market Crash

    A rapid and often unanticipated drop in stock prices. A stock market crash can be the result of major catastrophic events, ...
  2. Financial Crisis

    A situation in which the value of financial institutions or assets drops rapidly. A financial crisis is often associated ...
  3. Election Period

    The period of time during which an investor who owns an extendable or retractable bond must indicate to the issuer whether ...
  4. Shanghai Stock Exchange

    The largest stock exchange in mainland China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange is a nonprofit organization run by the China Securities ...
  5. Dead Cat Bounce

    A temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or bear market, followed by the continuation of the downtrend. A dead cat bounce ...
  6. Bear Market

    A market condition in which the prices of securities are falling, and widespread pessimism causes the negative sentiment ...
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!