Federal Funds

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DEFINITION of 'Federal Funds'

Excess reserves that commercial banks deposit at regional Federal Reserve banks. Federal funds can then be lent to other commercial banks with insufficient reserves. These loans are made at a relatively low interest rate, called the federal funds rate or overnight rate, and they typically have an extremely short duration: overnight. Federal funds help commercial banks meet their daily reserve requirements. Banks are required to maintain a certain level of reserves based on the amount of customer deposits they are responsible for.

BREAKING DOWN 'Federal Funds'

When federal funds are freely available for borrowing, credit is easy to obtain and the credit market is considered healthy. When federal funds are difficult to obtain, credit becomes tight. If credit is too freely available, the Federal Reserve may buy back some of the government bonds it has issued to decrease the money supply and try to prevent inflation. The federal funds rate is closely related to short-term interest rates in the broader market.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. How does the bond market react to changes in the Federal Funds Rate?

    The bond market is highly sensitive to changes in the federal funds rate. When the Federal Reserve increases the federal ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What does a cut in interest rates mean for the stock market?

    When the next Federal Reserve meeting is expected to bring interest rate cuts or increases, it is wise, as a stock investor, ... 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 >>

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