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Legal status of regional Federal Reserve Banks

The Federal Reserve Banks have an intermediate legal status, with some features of private corporations and some features of public federal agencies. The United States has an interest in the Federal Reserve Banks as tax-exempt federally created instrumentalities whose profits belong to the federal government, but this interest is not proprietary.[76]


"The Reserve Banks are "not" Federal instrumentalities... but are

" Independent, "Privately Owned" and Locally Controlled " CORPORATIONS "


In Lewis v. United States,[77] the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit stated that:

"The Reserve Banks are not federal instrumentalities for purposes of the FTCA [the Federal Tort Claims Act], but are

" Independent, "Privately Owned" and Locally Controlled " CORPORATIONS "


The opinion went on to say, however, that: "The Reserve Banks have properly been held to be federal instrumentalities for some purposes." Another relevant decision is Scott v. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City,[76] in which the distinction is made between Federal Reserve Banks, which are federally created instrumentalities, and the Board of Governors, which is a federal agency.

Regarding the structural relationship between the twelve Federal Reserve banks and the various commercial (member) banks, political science professor Michael D. Reagan has written that:[78]

... the "ownership" of the Reserve Banks by the commercial banks is symbolic; they do not exercise the proprietary control associated with the concept of ownership nor share, beyond the statutory dividend, in Reserve Bank "profits." ... Bank ownership and election at the base are therefore devoid of substantive significance, despite the superficial appearance of private bank control that the formal arrangement creates.

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  • BoG 2006, pp. 1 "Just before the founding of the Federal Reserve, the nation was plagued with financial crises. At times, these crises led to 'panics,' in which people raced to their banks to withdraw their deposits. A particularly severe panic in 1907 resulted in bank runs that wreaked havoc on the fragile banking system and ultimately led Congress in 1913 to write the Federal Reserve Act. Initially created to address these banking panics, the Federal Reserve is now charged with a number of broader responsibilities, including fostering a sound banking system and a healthy economy."

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  • "Factors Affecting Reserve Balances of Depository Institutions and Condition Statement of Federal Reserve Banks". Federal Reserve. Retrieved March 20, 2008.

  • "Congressional Record June 10, 1932, Louis T McFadden". June 10, 1932.

  • Johnson, Roger T. (February 2010). "Historical Beginnings... The Federal Reserve" (PDF). Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Retrieved 30 December 2014.

  • Silver-Greenberg, Jessica; Protess, Ben; Eavis, Peter (19 November 2014). "Rising Security as Banks Hire from the Fed". The New York Times. Retrieved December 6, 2014.

  • Grace Wyler (May 8, 2012). "Ron Paul Is Hosting A Hearing On Ending The Federal Reserve Right Now". Business Insider Inc.

    1. Brian Lamb (October 28, 1994). Book Discussion on The Road to Serfdom. C-SPAN. Milton Friedman (National Cable Satellite Corporation).
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    Federal Reserve Notes and Collateral Federal Reserve Notes Outstanding 1128.63    Less: Notes held by F.R. Banks 200.90    Federal Reserve notes to be collateralized 927.73 Collateral held against Federal Reserve notes 927.73    Gold certificate account 11.04    Special drawing rights certificate account 5.20    U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities pledged 911.50    Other assets pledged
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    Fed: Household net worth hits record $83 trillion in 4th quarter of 2014
    Mar 12, 2015 - Household net worth rose by $1.5 trillion in the fourth quarter of last year to a record $83 trillion, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday.
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    Federal Reserve Bank Ownership
    There are actually 12 different Federal Reserve Banks around the country, and they are owned by big private banks. But the banks don't necessarily run the show. Nationally, the Federal Reserve System is led by a Board of Governors whose seven members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
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    Net worth of households and nonprofit organizations
    Total Net Worth‍—‌Balance Sheet of Households and Nonprofit Organizations 1949-2012
    The net worth of households and nonprofit organizations in the United States is published by the Federal Reserve in a report titled Flow of Funds. At the end of the third quarter of fiscal year 2012, this value was $64.8 trillion. At the end of the first quarter of fiscal year 2014, this value was $95.5 trillion.
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    . In its Frequently Asked Questions section, the Federal Reserve Board says: “The Federal Reserve System is not ‘owned’ by anyone and is not a private, profit-making institution. Instead, it is an independent entity within the government, having both public purposes and private aspects.” It continues:

    Federal Reserve Board: As the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve derives its authority from the U.S. Congress. It is considered an independent central bank because its decisions do not have to be ratified by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branch of government, it does not receive funding appropriated by Congress, and the terms of the members of the Board of Governors span multiple presidential and congressional terms. However, the Federal Reserve is subject to oversight by Congress, which periodically reviews its activities and can alter its responsibilities by statute. Also, the Federal Reserve must work within the framework of the overall objectives of economic and financial policy established by the government. Therefore, the Federal Reserve can be more accurately described as “independent within the government.”

    The twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, which were established by Congress as the operating arms of the nation’s central banking system, are organized much like private corporations–possibly leading to some confusion about “ownership.” For example, the Reserve Banks issue shares of stock to member banks. However, owning Reserve Bank stock is quite different from owning stock in a private company. The Reserve Banks are not operated for profit, and ownership of a certain amount of stock is, by law, a condition of membership in the System. The stock may not be sold, traded, or pledged as security for a loan; dividends are, by law, 6 percent per year.

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