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May 27, 2022 

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EXCESS RESERVES: The amount of bank reserves over and above those that the Federal Reserve System requires a bank to keep. Excess reserves are what banks use to make loans. If a bank has more excess reserves, then it can make more loans. This is a key part of the Fed's ability to control the money supply. Using open market operations, the Fed can add to, or subtract from, the excess reserves held by banks. If the Fed, for example, adds to excess reserves, then banks can make more loans. Banks make these loans by adding to their customers' checking account balances. This is of some importance, because checking account balances are an major part of the economy's money supply. In essence, controlling these excess reserves is the Fed's number one method of "printing" money without actually printing money.

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HARD MONEY: Historically money that is in the form of precious metals, especially gold. In modern times, any national currency that is expected to retain its value (and even appreciate in value), and is readily acceptable for most international transactions. The U.S. dollar, German marc, and Swiss franc tend to be near the top of the list of hard money (also termed hard currency).

     See also | money | currency | gold standard | Special Drawing Rights | appreciation | exchange rate | foreign exchange | International Monetary Fund | balance of payments |


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VAULT CASH

Paper bills and metal coins kept in bank vaults or elsewhere in banks (such as teller drawers). Vault cash is used, quite literally, to "cash" checks and otherwise to satisfy currency withdrawal demands of the depositors. Because vault cash is in the possession of banks and not the nonbank public, it is not considered as "money in circulation" and is not part of the official M1 money supply. Vault cash is one of two types of bank assets that are considered reserves and used to satisfy reserve requirements. The other is Federal Reserve deposits.

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