The term Federal Reserve Bank refers to a network of twelve banks that make up part of the Federal Reserve System. Federal Reserve Banks are the operating arm of the central banking system of the United States.
Also referred to as a reserve bank and monetary authority, a central bank is a financial institution that oversees monetary policy and regulates the commercial banking system of a country. In the United States, the Federal Reserve Act provided for a central banking system. The activities of the Federal Reserve occur under the direction and supervision of its Board of Governors, which provides general guidance to the central banking system and oversees the twelve Reserve Banks.
The network of twelve Federal Reserve Banks and twenty-four branches make up the Federal Reserve System. Each of the Reserve Banks is assigned a region in the United States as shown in the accompanying illustration. The Reserve Banks are named after their locations and include: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, St. Louis, and San Francisco.
Reserve Banks are responsible for handling Treasury payments. They also sell government securities and help with cash management activities. They store currency and coin, and can also process checks and electronic payments. Finally, they may also conduct economic research to help support monetary policy decisions.