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Zimmerman's Research Guide


Federal Reserve System

The Federal Reserve System ("the Fed") is the central bank of the U.S. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve oversees the operation of the Fed. Federal Open Market Committee - comprised of the Governors and bank presidents - sets and implements monetary policy. This includes setting the Federal Funds rate and the Discount rate. Other operations are handled by Congressionally chartered, semi-private regional Banks located in major cities (e.g., the Federal Reserve Bank of New York).

For more information about the Fed's structure and responsibilities, see The Federal Reserve System: Purposes and Functions.

Print resources: The main hard copy sources for FRB materials are the Board's own Federal Reserve Regulatory Service (F.R.R.S.) and the Federal Banking Law Reporter (CCH), both of which include FRB regulations and the Federal Reserve Bulletin. The Service also reprints forms, statutes, the Board's operating rules and staff opinions (printed after the regulations they interpret). The CCH Reporter includes selected regulation letters, interpretations and rulings. The Reporter is available online by subscription through Intelliconnect.

Fed Web Site: The Fed's Board of Governors Home Page posts links to sites by the regional Fed banks, press releases, regulations, the Beige Book, letters statistics, research papers, actions, orders, manuals, reports to congress, etc. (www.federalreserve.gov). Forms and regulatory reports are posted on the New York Fed's Web site under Banking Information / Regulatory and Legal Matters / Regulatory Reports, Forms & Instructions (www.ny.frb.org). Reference Guides and Operating Circulars are posted at www.frbservices.org/OperatingCirculars/index.html. Written agreements are included in the Enforcement Actions section from 1997 to the present.

The Federal Reserve Bulletin is available through Westlaw (FFIN-FRB), as discussed below, as well as EBSCOhost's MasterFILE database (from 7/1/1990) and Proquest (from 1987).

Lexis & Westlaw: Westlaw has FRB Actions (FFIN-FRBACT), Agreements from 1990 to current (FFIN-FRBAGR), Interpretive Letters (FFIN-FRBIL), Speeches (FFIN-FRBSP), the Federal Reserve Bulletin (FEDRSVBUL), the whole F.R.R.S. (FIN-FRRS) - or you can search all Fed materials at once (FFIN-FRB) or all Federal banking agency materials at once (FFIN-ADMIN). Lexis also has a broad collection of Fed materials, including Supervision & Regulation Letters (BANKNG;FEDRSL), "H2's Announcements" from 1982 to the present (BANKNG;FEDH2) , Orders and Notices from 1992 to the present (BANKNG;FEDORD), Policy Statements and Actions from May 1992 through September 2004 (BANKNG;FEDPOL) and Speeches/Testimonies/News Releases from October 1983 through June 15, 2005 (BANKNG;FEDSP), plus Interpretive Letters from 1941 to the present (BANKNG;FEDIL), and the F.R.R.S. from February, 1981 to the present (BANKNG;FRRS).

Color Books: The Fed staff produces a number of books for the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) that are known by color. They are:

  1. The Green Book (or Greenbook), first produced in 1964 and officially titled Current Economic and Financial Conditions - provides an an analysis of the U.S. and international economy. The Green Book is produced for the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and not released to the public for five years. After that the Green Book is posted with the FOMC's Transcripts and Historic Materials.
  2. The Blue Book, first produced in 1996 and officially titled Monetary Policy Alternatives - discusses policy alternatives for the FOMC to consider at the meeting. The Blue Book is produced for the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and not released to the public for five years. After that the Blue Book is posted with the FOMC's Transcripts and Historic Materials.
  3. The Teal Book, first produced in 2010 from the merger of the Green and Blue Books. I have read it is actually white. Presumably, the Teal Book will be made available to the public in 2016.
  4. The Beige Book, first produced in 1983 and officially titled Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions - summarizes the economic conditions in each Fed District. The Beige Book is available to the public on release. Historic editions more than five years old are posted with the FOMC's Transcripts and Historic Materials. Current and historic editions are posted by year and then District in the Minneapolis Fed's Beige Book Archives.
  5. The Red Book was a predecessor to The Beige Book. It discussed specific companies and was not made available to the public.

{Thanks to Rick McKinney for his help explaining the organization and operation of the Federal Reserve System.}

See Also
Bond Prices
Foreign Currency Exchange Rates
Interest Rates
Money Rates
United States Treasury Securities
United States Treasury Department

For comments, questions and suggestions, email the author
Copyright 2015 Andrew Zimmerman