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FAQs

Interest Rates

 

What are the historical changes in the target federal funds rate?
Historical changes in the target federal funds rate are available on the Open Market Operations section of the Board's Web site.

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What is the discount rate?
The discount rate is the interest rate that an eligible depository institution is charged by its Federal Reserve Bank to borrow funds, typically for a short period. There are three primary discount rates: the primary credit rate, the secondary credit rate, and the seasonal credit rate. By law, the Board of Directors of each Reserve Bank establishes the discount rate independently every fourteen days subject to review and determination by the Board of Governors.

Originally, each Reserve Bank set its discount rate to reflect the banking and credit conditions in its own District. Over the years, the transition from regional credit markets to a national credit market has gradually produced a national discount rate. As a result, the Federal Reserve maintains a uniform structure of discount rates across all Reserve Banks.

Further information on the discount window, including information on current and historical discount rates, is available on the Federal Reserve Discount Window Web site.


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Where can I find out what the current federal funds rate is?
The Federal Open Market Committee's target level for the federal funds rate is announced in FOMC Statements issued after each meeting. Current and past FOMC statements are available on the Federal Open Market Committee section of the Board's Web site.

The current effective federal funds rate is available in the Board's H.15 Statistical Release, "Selected Interest Rates," on the Board's Web site.


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Where can I find the latest interest rates?
Current and historical data on most interest rates are available in the Board's H.15 Statistical Release, "Selected Interest Rates," on the Board's Web site.

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Where can I find historical mortgage interest rates to check on my adjustable-rate mortgage?
Lenders use different bases, and sometimes more than one base, to determine the rate for adjustable-rate mortgages. Check your mortgage documentation to find out which base your lender uses to calculate the rate on your adjustable- rate mortgage, then search for that base on the internet.

Where can I get the current discount rate?
The Board of Governors' website explains the discount rate which is different for each of the three loan programs available to depository institutions through the discount window. The current discount window interest rates are on the Federal Reserve's discount window website.

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What is the prime rate, and does the Federal Reserve set the prime rate?
The prime rate is an interest rate determined by individual banks. It is often used as a reference rate (also called the base rate) for many types of loans, including loans to small businesses and credit card loans. On its H.15 statistical release, "Selected Interest Rates," the Board reports the prime rate posted by the majority of the largest twenty- five banks. Although the Federal Reserve has no direct role in setting the prime rate, many banks choose to set their prime rates based partly on the target level of the federal funds rate--the rate that banks charge each other for short-term loans--established by the Federal Open Market Committee.

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