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A central bank oversees a nation’s monetary system.

With their ability to dictate the direction of an economy, central banks play a pivotal role in a country’s growth. In most cases, they are not a government agency, even though they serve their nation. Their responsibilities range widely, depending on their country. 

Central banks control monetary policy, which means they manipulate liquidity in the financial system to influence the economy. Their actions will determine currency stability, as well as the levels of inflation and employment. They also regulate banks, and provide services for a nation’s banks and its government.

To control monetary policy, central banks issue currency and set interest rates on loans and bonds. Central banks raise interest rates to slow growth and avoid inflation. They’ll lower rates to spur growth.

By establishing a reserve requirement, central banks dictate how much banks can loan to customers, and how much capital they must keep on hand.

And when providing banking services for other banks and the government, central banks loan money to members and oversee their activity. They also manage foreign exchange reserves.

In the United States, the central banking system is known as the Federal Reserve, commonly called the Fed. It includes 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks that are located throughout the country. It regulates banks, and it buys and sells Treasury bonds to set monetary policy and steer interest rates.

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