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Bank Reserves

Bank Reserves

Have you ever thought about how banks know how much money to keep in the bank? How are they able to do withdrawals for everyone plus lend out money without emptying out their vaults and pockets? The answer is: bank reserves. Bank reserves are something banks and other financial institutions are legally required to have available. To learn more about what bank reserves are, how they work, and more, keep reading on!

Bank Reserves Explained

Commercial bank deposits, coupled with the banks' cash they keep at the Federal Reserve Bank, are referred to as bank reserves. In the past, banks were renowned for not maintaining adequate cash available prior to the usage of bank reserves. Clients at other banks would worry and withdraw their money if one bank collapsed, resulting in a succession of bank runs. Congress created the Federal Reserve System to provide a more reliable and safe financial system.

Consider the following scenario: you enter the bank to take out some money, and the bank clerk notifies you that there is insufficient money on hand to complete your request, thus your withdrawal is rejected. To ensure that would never occur, bank reserves were created. In a way, it might be helpful to think of them as piggy banks. They have to keep a certain amount out of the way and aren't allowed to touch it until they really need it, the same way if someone is trying to save up for something, they wouldn't take the money out of their piggy bank.

Reserves can also be used to boost the economy. Assume a financial institution has $10 million dollars in deposits. If the reserve requirement is only at 3% ($300,000), then the financial institution can lend the remaining $9.7 million for mortgages, college payments, car payments, etc.

Banks make an income by lending money to the community rather than keeping it safe and locked up, which is the reason bank reserves are so crucial. Banks may be enticed to lend more funds than they ought to if reserves are not held.

Bank reserves are a bank's amount they hold in the vault plus the amount in deposits held at the Federal Reserve Bank.

A variety of factors influence the sum of cash required to be on standby. For instance, there's a larger demand during the holiday season, when shopping and spending are at their peak. Individuals' need for money may also spike unexpectedly during economic downturns. When banks discover that their cash reserves are less than the projected financial needs, particularly if they are less than the statutory minimum, they will usually seek money from other financial institutions with excess reserves.

Bank Reserves Requirements

Banks lend money to consumers depending on the percentage of their available cash. In return, the government requires the banks to retain a particular number of assets on hand to meet any withdrawals. This sum is known as the reserve requirement. Essentially, it's the amount that banks must hold and aren't permitted to lend to anyone. The Federal Reserve Board is responsible for establishing these requirements in the US.

Imagine a bank has $500 million in deposits, but the reserve requirement is set at 10%. If this is the case, then the bank can lend out $450 million but must keep $50 million on hand.

The Federal Reserve utilizes reserve requirements like a financial instrument in this manner. Whenever they increase the requirement, then that means they are pulling funds out of the supply of money and boosting the price of credit, or interest rates. Reducing the reserve requirement injects funds into the economy by providing banks with extra reserves, which encourages bank credit availability and lowers interest rates.

Banks that retain excessive money on hand miss out on the extra interest that may be made by lending it. On the contrary, if banks wind up lending out significant amounts and holding too little as reserves, then there is a risk of a bank run and the bank's instant collapse. Previously, the banks made the determination regarding the amount of reserve money to keep on hand. However, several of them underestimated the reserve needs and wound up in hot water.

To address this issue, central banks began to establish reserve requirements. Commercial banks are now legally required to meet the reserve requirements imposed by the central banks.

Types of Bank Reserves

There are three main types of bank reserves: required, excess, and legal.

Required

A bank is obligated to retain specific amounts of cash or bank deposits, which are referred to as required reserves. To ensure the bank's viability, this share is not lent out but rather is placed in a liquid account. Typically, a commercial bank will store bank reserves physically, for example in a vault. Of the overall monetary deposits submitted to the bank, it represents a very tiny sum. Central bank laws require bank reserves to guarantee that a commercial bank has sufficient assets to settle customer transactions.

Required reserves are also sometimes confused with legal reserves, which is the sum of cash holdings mandated by law to be allotted as reserves by a financial institution, insurance firm, etc. Legal reserves, often known as total reserves, are split into required and excess reserves.

Excess

Excess reserves, also known as secondary reserves, are financial reserves retained by a bank in excess of what authorities, debtors, or internal systems demand. Excess reserves for commercial banks are assessed against benchmark reserve requirement quantities specified by central banking regulators.

Excess reserves provide additional protection for financial institutions in the case of loan losses or big money withdrawals by consumers. This cushion improves the financial system's security, particularly during times of financial turmoil.

Banks generate revenue by accepting consumer deposits and then lending that capital to someone else at a greater rate of interest. They can't lend out all of their funds, though, since they must have cash on hand to cover their expenses and meet consumer withdrawal requests. The Federal Reserve instructs banks how much capital they must have on hand to meet financial commitments. Every cent kept by banks in excess of this amount is referred to as excess reserves.

Excess reserves are not lent by banks to customers or businesses. Instead, they hold onto them in case of necessity.

Let's say a bank has $100 million dollars in deposits. In the case that the reserve ratio is 10%, it must retain a minimum of $10 million on hand. If the bank has $12 million in reserves, $2 million of that is in excess reserves.

Bank Reserves Formula

As a regulatory rule, bank reserve regulations are established to ensure that big financial entities have adequate liquid assets to cover withdrawals, liabilities, and the effects of unplanned economic conditions. The reserve ratio may be utilized to determine the minimal cash reserves, which are typically set as a predetermined % of a bank's deposits.

The reserve ratio is multiplied by the full amount of deposits held by a bank to determine its reserves:

Bank Reserves Example

To get a better understanding of how bank reserves work, let's go through a few examples of calculating the reserve requirements to see how it all comes together.

Imagine a bank has $20 million in deposits and you're told that the required reserve ratio is 10%. Calculate the reserve requirement of the bank.

Step 1:

Step 2:

If a bank has $100 million in deposits and you know that the required reserve ratio is 5%, calculate the reserve requirement of the bank.

Step 1:

Step 2:

Imagine a bank has $50 million in deposits and you're told that the reserve requirement is $10 million. Calculate the required reserve ratio of the bank.

Step 1:

Step 2:

The reserve ratio is 20%!

Functions of Bank Reserves

Bank reserves have several functions. These include:

  • Ensuring enough money is on hand to cover any customer withdrawal requests.
  • Stimulating the economy
  • Supporting financial institutions by ensuring they have extra funding left over after all of the lending they do.

Even if there wasn't a reserve requirement, banks would still be required to keep sufficient reserves at the Fed to support the checks issued by their clients, in addition to sufficient vault money to fulfill currency demands. Ordinarily, the Fed and other clearing institutions ask for payment in reserve money, which doesn't have any credit risk, rather than the transference of funds among private lenders, which do.

Reserve restrictions combined with an average time for reserve management might offer a valuable cushion against money market disruptions. For instance, in the case that a bank's reserves fell unexpectedly early, the bank might temporarily let its reserves drop below the needed level. Later, it may keep enough extra to restore the needed average level.

Reserve requirements can have a long-term impact on bank loans and rates of deposit. The essential decisions are: what amount of reserves are required, if they are gaining interest, and if they could be averaged over a set amount of time.

Bank Reserves - Key takeaways

  • Bank reserves are the amount of money banks hold in the vault plus the amount in deposits they have at the Federal Reserve Bank.
  • The amount of assets that must be kept on hand to meet any withdrawals is known as a reserve requirement.
  • There are three main types of bank reserves: required, excess, and legal.
  • Banks generate revenue by accepting consumer deposits and then lending that capital to someone else at a greater rate of interest.

FAQs

What is meant by bank reserves?

Bank reserves are the amount of money held in the vault plus deposits at the Federal Reserve Bank.

What are the three types of bank reserves?

The three types of bank reserves are legal, excess, and required.

Who holds bank reserves?

Required reserves are held by commercial banks, while excess reserves are held by the central bank.

How are bank reserves created?

The central bank generates reserves by purchasing government bonds from commercial banks, and the commercial banks can then use that money to make loans.

What do bank reserves include?

Bank reserves are vault money plus money deposited at the Federal Reserve Bank.

Frequently Asked Questions about Bank Reserves

Bank reserves are the amount of money held in the vault plus deposits at the Federal Reserve Bank. 

The three types of bank reserves are legal, excess, and required.

Required reserves are held by commercial banks, while excess reserves are held by the central bank.

The central bank generates reserves by purchasing government bonds from commercial banks, and the commercial banks can then use that money to make loans.


Bank reserves are vault money plus money deposited at the Federal Reserve Bank.


Final Bank Reserves Quiz

Question

______ __________ are the amount of money banks hold in the vault plus the amount in deposits they have at the Federal Reserve Bank.

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Answer

Bank reserves 

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Question

When banks discover that their cash reserves are less than the projected financial needs, particularly if they are less than the statutory minimum, they will seek money from other financial institutions with excess reserves.

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Answer

True

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Question

Banks lend money to consumers depending on the percentage of their ________ cash.

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Answer

available 

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Question

What's it called when the government requires the banks to retain a particular number of assets on hand to meet any withdrawals?

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Answer

Required reserves

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Question

Reducing the reserve requirement _____ funds into the economy by providing banks with extra reserves.

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Answer

injects

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Question

What happens when banks have extra reserves?

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Answer

The excess reserves encourage bank credit availability and lower interest rates.

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Question

How do banks with excess reserves lose money by holding onto it?

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Answer

Banks that retain excessive money on hand miss out on the extra interest that may be made by lending it.

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Question

There are three main types of bank reserves: required, excess, and legal.  

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Answer

True

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Question

In what way do excess reserves provide additional protection?

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Answer

They give financial security in the case of loan losses or big money withdrawals by consumers.

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Question

Banks generate revenue by accepting consumer ______ and then lending that capital to someone else at a greater rate of interest. 

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Answer

deposits 

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Question

The reserve ratio may be utilized to determine the minimal cash reserves, which are typically set as a predetermined percent of a bank's deposits.


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Answer

True

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Question

How are the reserves created in the first place?

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Answer

The central bank generates reserves by purchasing government bonds from commercial banks, and the banks can then use that money to make loans.

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Question

Who holds the reserves?

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Answer

Commercial banks hold required reserves while the central bank holds excess reserves.

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Question

Banks may be enticed to lend more funds than they ought to if reserves are not held.

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Answer

True

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