Who Owns the Federal Reserve?


Quick Answer

Technically, no one person, group or entity owns the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve is an independent agency within the government and can be subject to oversight by the United States Congress. However, the Federal Reserve is not considered a private or for-profit institution.

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Full Answer

The Federal Reserve is considered an independent central bank, as it does not receive funding appropriated by Congress, and policy decisions do not have to be approved by anyone in either the legislative or executive branches of government. Any decisions made by the Federal Reserve also do not require Presidential approval. However, the Federal Reserve does operate within the government.

While the Federal Reserve is the central bank of the United States, there are 12 different regional Federal Reserve Banks. These banks were established by Congress and are considered the operations of the United States banking system. The regional Federal Reserve Banks are similar in structure to private organizations, but are still considered a part of the government. The regional banks also have the ability to issue shares of stock to different member banks as a condition of membership in the Reserve Bank System. This stock cannot be sold or traded, and it cannot be used as security for obtaining a loan.

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