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Federal Reserve / Federal Reserve System
created by an act of Congress in 1913, the Federal Reserve System, or "the Fed," serves as the central bank of the United States. The System consists of a seven member Board of Governors (presidentially appointed) with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Federal Open Market Committee and twelve Reserve Banks located in major cities throughout the United States. Its overall responsibilities include: managing the nation's money supply through monetary policy to achieve the sometimes-conflicting goals of maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates; supervising and regulating banking institutions to maintain the stability of the financial system and contain systemic risk in financial markets; providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation's payments system; strengthening U.S. standing in the world economy.