The Federal Reserve System is the central bank of the United States.
It was founded by Congress in 1913 to provide the nation with a safer,
more flexible, and more stable monetary and financial system. See
http://www.federalreserve.gov/general.htm . The four general functions
of the Fed are to (1) conduct monetary policy, (2) supervise banks and
protect consumer rights, (3) maintain stability of the financial
system, and (4) provide financial services to banks and governments.
It is the monetary policy that is in the hands of the Federal Open
Market Committee (FOMC).
The FOMC consists of 12 members: the 7 members of the Board of
Governors (appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate to
14-year terms - only 5 are serving at this moment) and 5 of the 12
Federal Reserve Bank presidents (New York is always on the FOMC). The
FOMC is chaired by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Ben
Bernanke (who took the recently retired Alan Greenspan?s seat.) The
Board of Governors can be found here:
http://www.federalreserve.gov/bios/ . A complete listing will be found
below. The FOMC meetings are conducted in secret.
The FOMC sets interest rates either directly (by changing the discount
rate ? the rate charged for certain loans to banks) or through the use
of open market operations which is the buying and selling of U.S.
government securities which affects the ?federal funds rate.? Here is
an outstanding primer on managing the money supply:
There are 8 scheduled FOMC meetings during the course of each year
though the FOMC can make inter-meeting rate changes if necessary to
effectuate changes in monetary policy.
Here is the outstanding website for the Federal Open Market Committee
of the Federal Reserve Board:
The 2006 Members of the FOMC:
Ben S. Bernanke, Board of Governors, Chairman
Timothy F. Geithner, New York, Vice Chairman
Susan Schmidt Bies, Board of Governors
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., Board of Governors
Jack Guynn, Atlanta
Donald L. Kohn, Board of Governors
Jeffrey M. Lacker, Richmond
Mark W. Olson, Board of Governors
Sandra Pianalto, Cleveland
Janet L. Yellen, San Francisco
Thomas M. Hoenig, Kansas City
Cathy E. Minehan, Boston
Michael H. Moskow, Chicago
William Poole, St. Louis
Christine M. Cumming, First Vice President, New York
I hope this does the trick. If you have any questions or need anything
else to supplement this, please ask for Clarification.
"open market committee"
"federal reserve board"