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30 April, 2015 - 17:59

There are three main tools of monetary policy that the Federal Reserve uses to influence the amount of reserves in private banks 1:

Tool Description
Open market operations Purchases and sales of U.S. Treasury and federal agency securities—the Federal Reserve's principal tool for implementing monetary policy. The Federal Reserve's objective for open market operations has varied over the years. During the 1980s, the focus gradually shifted toward attaining a specified level of the federal funds rate (the rate that banks charge each other for overnight loans of federal funds, which are the reserves held by banks at the Fed), a process that was largely complete by the end of the decade 2.
Discount rate The interest rate charged to commercial banks and other depository institutions on loans they receive from their regional Federal Reserve Bank's lending facility—the discount window 3.
Reserve requirements The amount of funds that a depository institution must hold in reserve against specified deposit liabilities 4.