GLOSSARY  of  FINANCIAL TERMS

A
Academic Consultants

An advisory group initiated by the Board in the 1960s to provide a forum for the exchange of views between the Board and members of the academic community in economics and banking.
Acquirer

In an electronic money system, the entity or entities (typically banks) that hold deposit accounts for merchants and to which transaction data are transmitted.
Acquisition

The process of buying or acquiring some asset. The term can refer to the purchase of a block of stock or more often, to the acquisition of an entire company.
Adaptive Selling

A sales method where the offer is changed to better match a prospective customer or situation. Online merchants can take advantage of this through analysis of both general and user specific patterns.
Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM)

A mortgage having an interest rate that varies depending on the change in some outside standard such as prime rate, interest rate on United States Treasury securities, or the Inflation rate. The lender can increase or decrease the interest rate on the mortgage at specified intervals based on changing market conditions. The mortgage agreement specifies when the interest rate may change and any limits imposed.
Agreement Corporation

An Agreement corporation is a federally or state-chartered corporation that has entered into an agreement or understanding with the Board that it will not exercise any power that is impermissible for an Edge corporation. See also Edge Act Corporation.
Agricultural Prices

An index prices received by farmers in the market. The statistics is expressed as a percentage change from the previous month. It is a useful predictor of price changes on the grocery shelf, which are reflected in the consumer price index. See also Consumer Price Index.
Agricultural Services

This industry includes forestry and fisheries, as well as wages and salaries of U.S. residents employed by international organizations, foreign embassies, and consulates in the U.S
Alternative Financial Sector (AFS)

State-regulated financial sector serving consumers who do not frequent banks or other mainstream financial services. Check cashing outlets, pawnshops, refund-anticipation loans and rent-to-own programs are all part of the alternative financial sector. Also referred to as "fringe banking" and "informal financial services" sector.
Alternative Payment Systems

Payment systems such as those based on stored value cards, electronic currency, and debit or credit cards. These are considered alternative channels to deliver traditional banking and related products and services. See also Stored Value Card, Electronic Cash, Debit Card, Credit Card.
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

A non-profit organization that sponsors industry standards for information management and financial communication. The American Bankers Association has responsibility for the ANSI financial industry standards committee (ANSI X9). See also International Organization for Standardization.
Amortization

The gradual and systematic reduction of debt by equal periodic payments. Such payments generally must be sufficient to recompense current interest due during the repayment period and to repay the entire principal by the time the loan reaches maturity. An amortization schedule is a table that shows the amounts of principal and interest due at regular intervals, and the corresponding unpaid principal balance at the time each installment payment is made. See Also Debt, Interest, Principal.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The rate required by Truth in Lending laws. It is designed to show customers the total cost of credit, including the stated interest rate plus certain finance and service charges. See also Truth in Lending Act.
Anonymous Payment Mechanism

Protocols set up to protect the identity of a buyer in transactions, thereby providing the electronic equivalent of a cash transaction.
Antidumping Restrictions

A government regulation or law to prevent or correct a dumping of products or services by multinational company in foreign market. For example, the foreign country might outlaw a particular multinational company engaging in such practice within its borders. Alternatively, the foreign country might assess a very high tariff on dumping and the resulting price disparity.
Applicable Federal Rates  (AFR)

The statutory interest rate that must be charged for most loans and installment agreements to avoid imputation of income under the Internal Revenue Code. The Treasury Departments determine three applicable federal rates monthly based on the current market yields on outstanding obligations of the federal government with similar maturities. The federal short-term rate is applicable to transactions having terms of three years or less the federal midterm rate is applicable to transaction having terms of three to nine years, and the federal long-term rate is used for transaction having terms in excess of nine years. See also Interest, Loan, Installment Credit.
Appraisal Fee

The charge for estimating the value of property offered as security.
Asset Allocation

A bank's funds management strategy in which funds are assigned to securities and loan asset categories and then reallocated as loan demand changes.
Asset Securitization

A process whereby loans, receivables and other illiquid assets with similar characteristics in the balance sheet are packaged into interest-bearing securities that offers attractive investment opportunities. See also Loan.
Assets for Independence Act

(Public Law 105-285; 42 U.S.C. 604). Federal law establishing a national Individual Development Account (IDA) demonstration to determine how effective IDAs and asset-building strategies are in helping low-income people save, acquire assets, and achieve economic self-sufficiency. See also Individual Development Account.
Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACS)

APACS is an organization, which is responsible in the UK for matters relating to money transmission and payment clearing activities generally. The are 23 members of APACS and three autonomous clearing companies operating under the umbrella of APACS- BACS Limited, CHAPS Clearing Company Limited and Cheque and Credit Clearing Company Limited.
Auction Market

Trading securities through exchange brokers with buyers and sellers competing against one another to get the best prices. The New York Stock Exchange is a prime example.
Authentication

Identification of a bond certificate as having been issued under a specific indenture, thereby validating the bond. Also, legal verification of the genuineness of a document, as by the certification and seal of an authorized public official.
Automated Clearing House (ACH)

A computer-based clearing and settlement operation, often operated by a Federal Reserve Bank, established for the exchange of electronic transactions among participating depository institutions. Such electronic transactions can be substituted for paper checks used to make recurring payments such as mortgages, or in direct deposit distribution of federal and corporate benefits payments including Social Security payments. The U.S. Treasury uses the ACH extensively to pay certain obligations of the government.
Automated Loan Machine (ALM)

Unmanned consumer loan origination machine that resembles a stand-alone ATM in size. The unit consists of a touch-screen personal computer, keyboard, MICR reader, printer, modem, digital camera, and a digital signature pad. Consumers enter their social security number and other vital data and declare how much money they would like to borrow. The machine orders a credit report and scores the consumer for qualification. If the borrower is denied, a denial letter is generated. If the borrower is approved, the unit asks which account to deposit the funds into (this can be directly read from a check or deposit slip using the MICR reader), deposits those funds via ACH credit, and books the loan on the banks core system. See also Loan.
Automated Teller Machine (ATM)

It's computer terminal activated by a magnetically encoded Bank Card, allowing consumers to make deposits, obtain cash from checking or saving accounts, pay bills, transfer money between accounts, and do other routine transactions as they would at a bank teller window. ATMs can be programmed to dispense bank statements, public assistance benefits, and cash checks to the penny. Groups of banks sometimes share ATM networks located throughout a region of the country that may include portions of several states. See also Debit Card, Magnetic Stripe Card.
Automatic Transfer Service Account (ATSA)

A depositor's savings account from which funds may be transferred automatically to the same depositor's checking account to cover a check written or to maintain a minimum balance.

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B
Balance Inquiry

A basic function usually provided by home banking programs by which consumers can use a phone, personal computer or other electronic device to determine their balance of funds in a bank account.
Balance of Payments

The record of a country's transactions in goods, services, and assets with the rest of the world; also the record of a country's sources (supply) and uses (demand) of foreign exchange.
Balance of Trade

A country's merchandise exports minus its merchandise trade balance.
Balloon Mortgage

A mortgage in which the debt service (interest and principal) that is paid regularly will not result in the complete payment of the loan at the end of the mortgage term. The payment that represents the amount of principal still due at the end of the term is called the balloon payment. "To balloon" a mortgage is to schedule the amortization payments over a longer period than the term of the mortgage. See also Amortization, Balloon Payment, Principal.
Balloon Payment

A final lump-sum payment of unpaid principal remaining at the end of a Balloon Payment and in certain types of leases. The extra payment extinguishes the debt. See also Balloon Mortgage, Principal.
Bank

A financial business, chartered by the state or federal government. Banks borrow money at one rate from individuals and organizations that have excess cash. They then lend the money at higher rates to entities that are in need of cash. In recent years service charges have joined interest rate spreads as a major source of bank revenue.
Bank Examination

A periodic review of a bank's assets and liabilities by chartering agency or bank supervisory agency. Bank examiners focus their attention on three main areas: the competence of bank management; the quality of bank assets, principally loans; and compliance with state of federal banking regulation. See Also Bank Supervision.
Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

An international organization, based in Basel, Switzerland, that acts as a bank for central banks of major industrial countries. Chartered in 1930 by a group of European central banks, the BIS has evolved since the 1960s into an influential monetary institution, assisting central bankers in investing monetary assets. The Risk-Based Capital standard, adopted by banks in Group of 10 countries by 1988, in which loans and other bank assets are classified by risk, was formulated by central bankers. The Federal Reserve Board of Governors regularly takes part in BIS meeting, and other central banks. See also G-10 Countries, Board of Governors.
Bank Holding Company (BHC)

A company that owns or controls one or more banks. The Board of Governors has responsibility for regulating and supervising bank holding companies, such as approving acquisitions and mergers and inspecting the operations of such companies. This authority applies even though a bank owned by a holding company may be under the primary supervision of the Comptroller of the Currency or the FDIC. See also Board of Governors, Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Bank Regulation

The formulation and issuance by authorized agencies of specific rules or regulations, under governing law, for the conduct and structure of banking.
Bank Secrecy Act

A federal act requires banks to report cash transactions that exceed $10,000 in any one day. The act also requires certain records must be maintained (copies of checks paid, deposits, and so on). The act is intended to inhibit laundering of funds obtained through illegal activities. Every bank is required to name a Bank Secrecy Compliance Officer. See Also Laundered Money
Bank Supervision

Financial regulators' activities that focus on the safety and soundness of individual banks, and involves in the general and continuous oversight of the banking industry to ensure that banks are operated prudently and in accordance with applicable statutes and regulations. See also Bank examination.
Bank Wire

An electronic communications network owned by an association of banks and used to transfer messages between subscribing banks. Bankwire also offers a clearing service called Cashwire that includes a settlement facility. See also Fedwire.
Bank-Owned Community Development Corporation

A corporation, either for-profit or non-profit, that is capitalized by one or more banks. It can be a subsidiary of an individual bank or bank holding company, or a shared ownership corporation among several banks; other financial institutions, community-based organizations, and public and private investors. Requirements and restrictions on a bank-owned CDC's structure and activities vary according to its regulatory agency, although a CDC's purpose must be to make debt and/or equity investments in projects that promote community economic development. See also Community Development Corporation.
Bankers Acceptance

Bankers acceptances are negotiable time drafts, or bills of exchange, that have been accepted by a bank which, by accepting, assumes the obligation to pay the holder of the draft the face amount of the instrument on the maturity date specified. They are used primarily to finance the export, import, shipment, or storage of goods.
Banking Act of 1933

The first major banking legislation of the Roosevelt administration, it created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to provide insurance of deposits of member banks. The Act also provided for the regulation of banks, and limited branch banking. Also known as the Glass-Steagall Act. See also FDIC, Glass-Steagall Act.
Banking Industry Technology Secretariat (BITS)

It's a division of The Bankers Roundtable. The BITS board is made up of the chairs of the ten largest BHCs and is mandated to foster the growth and development of electronic banking in an open environment. See also Electronic Banking.
Bankruptcy

State of insolvency or an organization--in other words, an inability to pay debts. There are two kinds of legal bankruptcy under the U.S. law: involuntary, when one or more creditors petition to have a debtor judged insolvent by a court; and voluntary, when the debtor brings the petition. In both cases, the objective is an orderly and equitable settlement of obligation. See also Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13.
Barter

Trading goods or services for other goods or services without using legal currency.
Beige Book

A summary of commentary on current economic conditions by Federal Reserve District. This report is published eight times per year. Each Federal Reserve Bank gathers anecdotal information on current economic condition in its Districts through reports from Bank and Branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources. The Beige Book summarizes its District and sector information. See also Federal Reserve Bank.
Bequest

It is a giving of assets, such as stocks, bonds, mutual fundss, real estate, and personal property, to beneficiaries through the provisions of a will. See also Will.
Bill of Materials Function

Ability to present predefined lists of items routinely required by buyers for a specific purpose.
Bill Payment Service Provider

BPSPs offer a number of value added services to the Biller industry. BPSPs offer a tremendous range of services as outsourcing partners for their customers. Some typical services offered include: Design, printing and inventory management of statement forms and inserts, Printing, inserting, and mailing of statements, integration of printing services with the Biller's existing computer systems, receipt and processing of consumer payments.
Bill Presentment

An online system that allows customers to receive and view the bill on a computer screen, and then pay the bill electronically. Users can pay their bills immediately and the money is transferred from their account.
Bimetallism

A government's commission to exchange its currency on demand for stated amounts of either of two metals, usually gold or silver. Also bimetallic standard. Compared with symmetallism. See also Symmetallism.
Board of Governors

Central, governmental agency of the Federal Reserve System, located in Washington, D.C., and composed of seven members, who are appointed by the President and confirmed by the senate. The Board of Governors is responsible for domestic and international economic analysis; with other components of the System, for the conduct of monetary policy; for supervision and regulation of certain banking organizations; for operation of much of the nation's payment system; and for administration of most of the nation's laws that protect in credit transactions. See also Monetary Policy, Payment System.
Bond

A bond is a contract in which an issuer undertakes to make payments to an owner or beneficiary when certain events or dates specified in the contract occur.
Book-Entry

One form in which Treasury and certain government agency securities are held. Book-entry form consists of an entry on the records of the US Treasury Department, a Federal Reserve Bank, or a financial institution.
Book-entry Securities

Securities that are recorded in electronic records, called book entries, rather than as paper certificates. Ownership or U.S. government book-entry securities is transferred over Fedwire. See Also Definitive Securities, Fedwire.
Borrowed Reserves

Reserves that eligible depository institutions obtain by borrowing from the Federal Reserve through discount window.
Borrower

Any legal entity that obtains funds from another for a period of time. In the case of an extension of credit, the borrower usually signs a note as evidence of the indebtedness.
Broker's Loan

A loan that the originated sells to a third party for a fee. The buyer of the loan bears the interest rate risk and the default risk.
Bubble

A speculative venture that has little chance of making a profit. When this fact becomes evident, the bubble burst and prices fall.
Budget Deficit

The dollar amount of on-budget government expenditures minus the dollar amount of government revenues. A negative (positive) amount indicates that the government is collecting less (more) than it is spending and is viewed as stimulative for the U.S. and global economy.
Business Cycle

The time period from the top of a Gross National Product rise to the bottom of a fall and back to the base line. See also Gross National Product.
Business Incubator

A facility that provides below-market rents, shared services, and technical assistance to new businesses. Tenants typically include manufacturing, service, and technology firms. Sponsors may be private developers, CDCs, public agencies, or universities.
Buydown

A lump sum payment made to the creditor by the borrower or by a third party to reduce the amount of some or all of the consumer's periodic payments to repay the indebtedness. See also Borrower, Creditor, Debt.

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C
Call Center

Centralized customer service and sales facility through which a majority (and sometimes all) of customer calls are routed. The idea is to equip call center staff with access to customer relationship information so they can answer the customers' question on the first phone call, significantly reducing the amount of research staff and overhead a bank must support. This can either be run by the bank itself or by a third party service provider on behalf of the bank.
Call Report

The informal name for Report of Condition and Income. A quarterly report of income and condition required by a financial institution's primary supervisory agency: the Comptroller of the Currency for National Banks; Federal Reserve Banks for state members; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for insured nonmember banks; or state banking agencies for state chartered banks and trust companies. See Report of Condition and Income.
CAMELS Rating

A rating sytem that measures of the relative soundness of a bank. The components of the CAMELS rating- stand for Capital, Assets, Management, Earnings, Liquidity and Sensitivity to market risk. They are calculated on a 1-5 scale, and are used by bank supervisory agencies to evaluate bank condition. A rating of 1 is given to banks with the strongest performance ratings, while banks given a CAMELS rating of 4 or 5 are placed on the watch list of banks in need of supervisory attention. Individual CAMELS ratings are disclosed to bank management, though not to the general public. See Also Capital Adequacy..
Capacity Utilization

The ratio of units produced to the capacity level of the production facility. A high ration reflects manufacturing productivity.
Capital Adequacy

A requirement that the banks maintain equity capital sufficient to protect depositors from losses and support asset growth. Capital adequacy measures financial leverage; as leverage increases less capital is available to cover unexpected loss. Highly leveraged banks have more volatile earnings than banks with adequate capital, and are more closely monitored by banking regulations. See also CAMELS Rating.
Cash Flow

Cash available to an organization from its business operations investments. A positive cash flow indicates net operating income is sufficient to cover expenses, while a negative cash flow means expenses are growing faster than revenues. Lenders, when making loans to a business, often look first at cash flow from operations before collateral pledged by the borrower, as the primary source of loan repayment; Flow of funds through a bank, an important measure of its overall Liquidity, or ability to meet customer demand for funds. It is usually summarized in a cash flow report indicating a bank's sources of funds (mostly deposits) and uses of funds (mostly loans). See also Flow of Funds, Liquidity.
Cease-and-Desist Order

An order issued after notice and opportunity for hearing, requiring a depository institution, a holding company, or a depository institution official to terminate unlawful, unsafe, or unsound banking practices. Cease-and-desist orders are issued by the appropriate federal regulatory agencies under the Financial Institutions Supervisory Act and can be enforced directly by the courts.
Certificate Authority (CA)

An organization, such as a financial institution or trusted third party, that issues and manages the authenticity of digital certificates for use in electronic commerce.
Certificate of Deposit (CD)

A form of time deposit at a bank or savings institution; a time deposit cannot be withdrawn before a specified maturity date without being subject to an interest penalty for early withdrawal. Small-denomination CDs are often purchased by individuals. Large CDs of $100,000 or more are often in negotiable form, meaning they can be sold or transferred among holders before maturity. See also Time Deposit, Bank.
Certificates

Printed documents issued by a corporation as evidence of its obligation to the holders of the certificates. Also called securities. See also Securities.
Certified Check

A check for which a bank guarantees payment. When the check is certified, it legally becomes an obligation of the banks, and the funds to cover it are immediately from the depositor's account.
Certified Development Company

(also known as a 504 corporation) A non-profit corporation that provides small businesses with ten and twenty-year private Small Business Administration guaranteed financing. The structure and activities of the CDC must meet certain SBA guidelines, including a membership representing public agencies, lenders, businesses, and community-based organizations. See also Bank-Owned Community Development Bank.
CFMMI

See Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index
Chapter 11

A provision of bankruptcy laws allowing a bankrupt company to remain in business while its owners attempt to pay its debts. See Bankruptcy.
Chapter 13

Adjustments of debts of an individual with regular income under the Federal Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 13 enables a debtor who is an individual to develop and perform a plan for the prepayment of creditors over an extended period. The plan might provide for full or partial repayment. Chapter 13 allows the debtor to retain his or her property, unless he or she agrees otherwise in the plan. See Bankruptcy.
Chapter 7

A provision of bankruptcy laws wherein a company is require to liquidate its assets to pay of its creditors. See Bankruptcy.
Check

A demand deposit instrument (a draft) signed by the maker and payable to a person named or to a bearer upon presentation to the bank on which it is drawn.
Check 21

The Check 21 Act facilitates truncation through expanded use of electronic processing technologies to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of the nation’s check collection system. The law provides for a new negotiable paper instrument called a substitute check, which can be used in place of the original paper check without an agreement. This allows paper items to be truncated early in the collection or return process, with image cash letters replacing paper cash letters.
Check Cashing Outlet (CCO)

Businesses that cash government, payroll, and unsecured personal checks for consumers. Additional services may include payday loans, money orders, and wire transfers. CCO growth has taken place in primarily lower-income neighborhoods where traditional banking services may be inaccessible or unavailable. The convenient locations and extended business hours of check cashing outlets are additional incentives for their use. Often, the fees charged by CCOs may be greater than those charged by traditional banking services. See Also Alternative Financial Sector, Informal Financial Services.
Check Clearing

The movement of checks from the banks or other depository institutions where they are deposited back to those on which they are written, and funds movement in the opposite direction. This process results in credits to accounts at the institutions of deposit and corresponding debits to the accounts at the paying institutions. The Federal Reserve participates in check clearing through its nationwide facilities, though many checks are cleared by private sector arrangements. See also Clearing, Clearinghouse, Regional Check Processing Center (RCPC).
Check Kiting

A person writes a check without having enough money in his or her account to cover it, but he or she expects to be able to deposit the money before the check reaches the bank.
Check Truncation

Practice of holding a paper check at the bank at which it was deposited (or at intermediary bank) and electronically forwarding the essential information on the check to the bank on which it was written. A truncated check is not returned to the writer.
Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index (CFMII)

The Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index (CFMMI) is a monthly estimate of manufacturing output in the Seventh Federal Reserve District by major industry. The Midwest is defined as the five states comprising the District: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin. It is a composite index of 16 manufacturing industries that uses electrical power and hours worked data to measure monthly changes in regional activity.
Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI)

It is a monthly index designed to better gauge overall economic activity and inflationary pressure. The CFNAI, which is a weighted average of 85 existing monthly indicators of national economic activity, is constructed to have an average value of zero and a standard deviation of one. Since economic activity tends toward trend growth rate over time, a positive index reading corresponds to growth above trend and a negative index reading corresponds to growth below trend.
Circuit Breakers

It measures instituted by the major stock and commodities exchanges to halt trading temporarily in stocks and stock index futures when the market has fallen by a specified amount in a specified period. Circuit breakers were instituted after Black Monday in 1987 and modified following another sharp market drop in October 1989. Their purpose is to prevent a market free fall by permitting a rebalancing of buy and sell orders.
Clearing

A movement of checks from banks where they are deposited back to those on which they were written, and funds movement in the opposite direction. This results in credit to the banks where funds are deposited and corresponding debits to the accounts of paying institutions. The Federal Reserve operates a nationwide check clearing system, including numerous Regional Check Processing Centers. See also Clearinghouse, Regional Check Processing Centers.
Clearing House Automated Payments System (CHAPS)

A private telecommunication and payment system for interbank sterling payments operated by the London clearing house for banks in the London area.
Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS)

An automated clearing system used primarily for international payments. This system is owned and operated by the New York Clearinghouse banks. The CHIPS system provides settlement services for international commerce and trade payments, foreign exchange trades and Eurodollar payments among major U.S. and international banks. It engages Fedwire for settlement
Clearinghouse

An institution where mutual claims are settled between accounts of member depository institutions. Clearinghouses among banks have traditionally been organized for check-clearing purposes, but more recently have cleared other types of settlements, including electronic fund transfers. See also Check Clearing.
Co-Housing

A hybrid form of housing that combines private and communal forms of living. Residents occupy individual, complete housing units and share additional kitchen, dining, and recreational facilities with other residents. Ownership and design may take a variety of forms. Limited equity cooperatives are a common form of urban co-housing.
Collaborative Commerce (C-Commerce)

The collaborative, electronically enabled business interactions among an enterprise's internal personnel, business partners, and customers throughout a trading community. The trading community could be an industry, industry segment, supply chain or supply chain segment.
Collateral

An asset such as an automobile or a piece of property that a person uses to take out a loan, promising to give the asset to the lender if loan payments cannot be met. Collateral also refers to the collection of receivables, such as mortgages, which are used to back the interest and/or principal security.
Commercial Bank

A state bank or National Bank, owned by stockholders, that accepts deposits and makes loans to business, regardless of its other services. Commercial bank deposits are insured by the Bank Insurance Fund, a federal insurance fund managed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. See also Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Independent Bank; NonBank Bank.
Community Action Agency

A publicly and privately funded agency that provides social services to lower-income residents in surrounding communities, such as fuel assistance, daycare, and education. CAAs may also be involved in the development and management of affordable housing.
Community Bank

See Independent Bank
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

Flexible federal aid that is intended for use by cities and towns to promote neighborhood revitalization, economic development, and improved community facilities and services. Specific uses of the funds are left to the discretion of local governments. Funds are administered by either state or city offices of economic development depending on the size of the city or town (see Entitlement Community.)
Community Development Corporation (CDC)

A community-based organization that is owned and controlled by community residents and is engaged in affordable housing, business and/or commercial development. Although CDCs vary in size and scope, the vast majority are non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)3 organizations. All CDCs have a board of directors composed of local residents, public officials, funders, bankers, relevant professionals, and/or community leaders. See Also Bank-Owned Community Development Corporation.
Community Development Credit Union (CDCU)

A non-profit credit union which is chartered to serve the members of a lower-income community. The structure is similar to a regular credit union, although as a non-profit organization it is tax exempt. Federally chartered CDCUs are regulated by the state. CDCU services vary depending on their level of capitalization. In general, they offer services not provided by mainstream financial institutions such as small loans at below-market rates to individuals who might not otherwise qualify for bank loans. CDCUs rely heavily on banks, foundations, and other investors for deposits to support their work.
Community Development Loan Fund (CDLF)

A private, non-profit organization that channels private investment capital to community-based organizations and projects. It may operate independently or as part of a community-based organization. Lenders to the fund may have some control over the term and rate of interest on their loans, which are generally more flexible that conventional financing, as well as the usage of their funds. CDLFs can also provide borrowers with technical assistance to reduce the chance of losses on higher risk loans. Since CDLFs are not chartered or licensed, they have flexibility in their organizational structure, although they may be subject to state laws and regulations. In most cases, they are incorporated as 501(c)(3) non-profits.
Community Land Trust (CLT)

A private non-profit corporation that acquires and holds land in perpetuity to be developed for specific community uses, primarily affordable housing. CLTs control the terms of sale of all properties and improvements on the land to maintain long-term interests, while allowing leaseholders to retain general ownership rights of their properties. CLTs are run by local residents, including leaseholders on CLT-owned land.
Community Reinvestment Act (12 U.S.C. 2901) CRA

Federal law passed in 1977 to encourage depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound banking operations. The CRA requires that each insured depository institution's record in helping meet the credit needs of its entire community be evaluated periodically. That record is taken into account in considering an institution's application for deposit facilities, including mergers and acquisitions.
Community-Based Organization

A non-profit organization that works to serve the disadvantaged in the community in which it is based. Services provided are varied and can include health, education, housing, and employment training.
Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)

A chief regulator of national banks, appointed by the President for a five-year term, with Senate confirmation. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the supervisory agency for national chartered banks, is oldest federal regulator of financial institutions. It is also an officer of the Treasury Department responsible for chartering national banks and has primary supervisory authority over them. All national banks are required to be members of the Federal Reserve System and are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. See also Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, Federal Reserve System.
Consolidator

Consolidator provides electronic bill payment of presentment. Internet banking ASPs and financial websites contract with them to allow all their customers to receive and pay bills online.
Construction

This industry includes general building, heavy construction, and special trade contractors.
Construction Expenditures

The total amount of new construction spending expressed as percentage change from the previous month. The total expenditure has two components: residential expenditures and nonresidential expenditures.
Construction Loan

A short-term real estate loan to finance building costs. The funds are disbursed as needed or in accordance with a prearranged plan, and the money is repaid on completion of the project, usually from the proceeds of a mortgage loan. The rate is normally higher than prime, and there is usually an origination fee. The effective yield on these loans tends to be high, and the lender has a security interest in the real property.
Consumer Advisory Council

A statutory body established by Congress in 1976. The Council, with 30 members who represent a broad range of consumer and creditor interests, advises the Board on the exercise of its responsibilities under the Consumer Credit Protection Act and on other matters on which the Board seeks its advice. See also Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1988.
Consumer Credit

Loan extended to individuals. Consumer credit includes secured and unsecured installment and revolving credit. Also call personal loans. See also Personal Loan.
Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1988

Landmark federal legislation establishing rules of disclosure that lenders must observe in dealings with borrowers. The act stipulates that consumers be told annual percentage rates, potential total cost, and any special loan terms. The act, enforced by the Federal Reserve Bank, is also known as the Truth in Lending Act. See also Finance Charge, Truth in Lending Act.
Consumer Installment Credit

The net change in billions from the previous month in consumer installment credit outstanding. The peaks and troughs in business and consumer credit historically precede business cycle extremes.
Consumer Leasing Act

Legislation passed in 1976 requiring lessors to disclose specified information about payment, trade-in allowance, and estimated value of property at the end of the lease.
Consumer Price Index (CPI)

A measurement of the change in consumer prices, as determined by a monthly survey of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many pension and employment contracts are tied to changes in consumer prices, as protection against inflation and reducing purchasing power. Among the CPI components are the costs of housing, food, transportation and electricity. Also known as the cost-of-living index.
Contract

An agreement by which right or acts are exchanged for lawful consideration. To be valid, it must be entered into by competent parties, must cover a legal and moral transaction, must possess mutuality, and must represent a meeting of minds.
Cooperative

A form of housing in which residents form a corporation for the purpose of owning and managing the property collectively. Membership in the cooperative gives them the right to occupy a unit and take part in the management and operation of the building. Residents own shares in the corporation proportional to their share of the mortgage, rather than owning individual units. If a resident leaves, the new resident purchases those shares and assumes responsibility for part of the mortgage.
Correspondent Bank

A bank that accepts deposits of and performs banking services for other depository institutions.
Cost-burdened Homeowners and Renters

Households are paying more than 30 percent of their monthly gross income for housing.
Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

Adjustment of wages designed to offset changes in the cost of living, usually as measured by the Consumer Price Index. COLAs are key bargaining issues in labor contracts and are politically sensitive elements of social security payments and federal pension because they affect million of people.
Coupon

Interest rate payment on bond.
Credit

Any money lent through loans and bonds or money owed for the payment of goods and services.
Credit Card

A plastic card authorizing the account holder to charge purchases against a preapproved credit line. Credit cards are issued by banks, thrift institutions, retailers, gasoline companies, and other credit grantors. Many card issuers change an annual fee to cover account servicing costs. See also Debit Card, Magnetic Stripe.
Credit History

A record of how a person has borrowed and repaid debts.
Credit Rating

A formal evaluation of an individual's or company's credit history and capability of repaying obligations. Any number of firms investigate, analyze, and maintain records on the credit responsibility of individuals and businesses. The credit rating is based on the number of outstanding debts and whether debts have been repaid in a timely manner in the past.
Credit Scoring System

A statistical system used to determine whether or not to grant credit by assigning numerical scores to various characteristics related to creditworthiness.
Credit Union

A not-for-profit financial institutions typically formed by employees of a company, a labor union, or a religious group and operated as a cooperative. Credit Unions may offer a full range of financial services and pay higher rates on deposits and charge lower rates on loans than commercial banks. Federally chartered credit unions are regulated and insured by the National Credit Union Administration. See also National Credit Union Administration.
Creditor

A party that extends credit, such as a trade supplier, a bank lender, or a bondholder.
Creditworthiness

A creditor's measure of a consumer's past and future ability and willingness to repay debts. See also Credit; Credit History; Credit Rating.
CRSO

See Customer Relations and Support Office
Currency

The medium of exchange in a given country consisting generally of bills (paper) and coins that is issued by the government and designated as legal tender for the payment of all obligations.
Customer Relations and Support Office (CRSO)

It oversaw and provided direction for a Federal Reserve study of 10 community banks nationwide. It presents information about their operations, their customers, and the challenges they face in offering their products in a competitive marketplace.
Cyberbanking

Also referred to as electronic banking, remote banking or online banking. Cyber is a derivative of a term coined by D. N. Michael and First Union National Bank around 1961 to refer to the use of computers to control manufacturing operations. See also Electronic Banking; Home Banking; Remote Banking.
CyberCash

A commercially sponsored payments system by which a user digitally purchases cash credits, stores them in their computer, and then spends them when making electronic purchases over the Internet. Most merchants accepting digital cash use it an alternative to other forms of payment for somewhat higher price purchases. See also Digital Cash.
Cyclical Stock

Securities such as those in automobile manufacturing plants and real estate ventures that rise quickly when the economy is on the upswing and fall when the economy drops. Noncyclical stocks include those in companies that product items people need no matter what the economy is doing, such as food and drugs.

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D
Daylight Overdraft

A negative balance created in an account when payments made during business hours exceed incoming funds actually received. The term also refers to an overdraft in a bank's reserve account at the Federal Reserve during business hours.
De Novo

A newly chartered bank, as opposed to a bank acquired through a purchase acquisition or a newly opened branch banking office. Banking expansion can take place through chartering of new banks and approval of new branch office by state banking department, or through the acquisition of existing bank (and banking offices).
Debit

A bank account entry subtracting a specific amount of money; the opposite of a credit.
Debit Card

A plastic card giving consumers access to their funds electronically. Debit cards act like checks when paying for goods and services or withdrawing cash at automated teller machines. See also Automated Teller Machine; Credit Card; Magnetic Stripe Card.
Debt

Money, goods, or services that one party is obligated to pay to another in accordance with an expressed or implied agreement. Debt may or may not be secured; General name for bonds, notes, mortgages, and other forms of paper evidencing amounts owed and payable on specified dates or on demand. See also Mortgage.
Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996

Federal law within the Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and Appropriations Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-134) that aims to enhance debt collection, as well as promote the use of electronic funds transfer (EFT) in the delivery of federal payments.
Default

Failure of a debtor to make timely payments of interest and principal as they come due or to meet some other provision of a bond indenture. In the even of default, bondholders may make claims against the assets of the issuer in order to recoup their principal. See also Debt, Interest, Principal.
Definitive Securities

Securities that are recorded on engraved paper certificates payable to the bearers or to specific, registered owners. See also Book-entry Securities.
Deflation

A drop in general price levels, usually caused by increased demand for money that isn't offset by an increased money supply, or a drop in the money supply that isn't offset by a drop in the demand for money.
Demand Deposit

An account balance which, without prior notice to the bank, can be drawn on by check, cash withdrawal from an automatic teller machine, or by transfer to other accounts using the telephone or home computers. Demand deposits are the largest component of the U.S. money supply. And the principal medium through which the Federal Reserve implements monetary supply.
Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD

A federal agency that funds numerous programs designed to promote economic development and affordable housing. Among the programs offered that can be used in tandem with private money include home mortgage insurance and Community Development Block Grants. See also Community Development Block Grants.
Department of Veterans Affairs

A federal agency that provides, among other services, guaranteed home loans for veterans. The terms and rates of such loans are usually more favorable that those of conventional home loans.
Deposit Ceiling Rates of Interest

Maximum interest rates that can be paid on savings and time deposits at federally insured commercial banks, mutual savings banks, savings and loan associations, and credit unions. Ceilings on credit union deposits are established by the National Credit Union Administration. Ceilings on deposits held by the other depository institutions are established by the Depository Institutions Deregulation Committee (DIDC). Under current law, deposit interest rate ceilings are being phased out over a six-year period, ending in 1986 under the oversight of the DIDC. See also National Credit Union Administration.
Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 DIDMCA

Among its major provisions, this Act applied uniform reserve requirements to all depository institutions with certain types of accounts and required reports from these depository institutions. It also extended access to the Federal Reserve discount window and to other Federal Reserve services in step with the implementation of a fee schedule. See also Discount Window, Reserve Requirements.
Depository Institutions Deregulation Committee DIDC

The Committee responsible for the orderly phase-out over a six-year period of interest rate ceilings on time and savings accounts at depository institutions. Voting members of the DIDC are the Secretary of the Treasury and the Chairmen of the Federal Reserve Board, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Home Loan Bank Board, and National Credit Union Administration Board. The Comptroller of the Currency serves as a nonvoting member. See also Deregulation.
Depreciation

The amount by which an asset's value falls in a given period.
Deregulation

Stopping or cutting down government control over a particular industry in an effort to free the market and promote competition.
Derivative

A financial contract whose value is determined from publicly trade securities, interest, currency exchange rates, or market indexes.
Devaluation

Lowering of the value of a country's currency relative to gold and/or the currencies on other nations. Devaluation can also result from a rise in value of other currencies relative to currency of a particular country. See also Currency.
DigiCash

The largest electronic cash scheme based on electronic coins. It uses blind signature to protect the anonymity of the buyer. See also Digital Cash.
Digital Cash

Money/monetary equivalents that can be transmitted electronically, largely outside the established payments system of banks, checks, and paper currency overseen by the Federal Reserve.
Digital Signature

The electronic equivalent of a person's unique writing of their own name, usually performed today using public key cryptography. To create a digital signature, a hash function is performed on a message to create a unique message digest. The message digest is then encrypted using the sender's private key; the recipient decrypts the digest using the sender's public key. The recipient uses the public key of the sender to verify the authenticity of the sender, who should be the only one possessing that private key.
Digital Wallet

Encryption software that conducts secure transactions online in a fashion that resembles using a physical wallet. A wallet can hold a user's payment information, a digital certificate to identify the user, and shipping information to speed transactions. The consumer benefits because his or her information is encrypted against piracy and because some wallets will automatically input shipping information at the merchant's site and will give the consumer the option of paying by digital cash or check. Merchants benefit by receiving protection against fraud.
Direct Deposit

An automatic deposit of wages or benefits (such as payroll payments) into a consumer's bank account. Direct Deposit payments are processed through the Federal Reserve's Automated Clearing House. See Also Automated Clearing House, Automatic Deposit.
Discount Rate

Interest rate that the Federal Reserve charges member banks for loans, using government securities or eligible paper as collateral. This provides a floor on interest rates, since banks set their loan rates a notch above the discount rate; Interest rate use in determining the present value of future cash flows. See also Capitalization Rate, Federal Funds Rate, Prime Rate.
Discount Window

A place in the Federal Reserve where banks go to borrow money at the Discount rate. Borrowing from the Fed is a privilege, not a right, and banks are discouraged from using the privilege except when they are short of reserves. See also Discount Rate.
Discount Yield

A yield obtained by dividing a security's discount by its face value, multiplying that number by the approximate number of days in the year (360), divided by the number of days left to maturity. The figure provides the interest on a security's face value instead of on the amount of money invested. discount / face amount x 360 / days to maturity
Dividends

The portions of a corporation's profits that the firm pays out each period to shareholders. Also called distributed profits.
Domestic Trading Desk (the Desk)

Trading desk, or Securities Department, at the New York Federal Reserve Bank, which is the operating arm of the Federal Open Market Committee. The Desk executes all transactions undertaken by the Federal Reserve System in the money market or the government securities market, serves as the Treasury Department's eyes and ears in these and related markets, and encompass a foreign desk which conducts transactions in the Foreign Exchange Market. See also Federal Open Market Committee.

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E
Easing

Federal Reserve action to increase the amount of credit available to the public through the banking system; undertaken when the economy needs to be stimulated.
EBPP

See Electronic Bill Payment & Presentment
Econometric Model

An empirical method of economic forecasting that uses an equation based on statistical relationship among economic variables, such as housing starts and equipment purchases.
Econometrics

Use of computer analysis and modeling techniques to describe in mathematical terms the relationship between key economic forces such as labor, capital, interest rates, and government policies, then test the effect of changes in economic scenarios. For instance, an econometric model might show the relationship of housing starts and interest rates.
Economic Growth Rate

Rate of change in the Gross National Product, as expressed in an annual percentage. If adjusted for inflation, it is called the real economic growth rate. Two consecutive quarterly drops in the growth rate mean recession, and two consecutive advances in the growth rate reflect an expanding economic.
Economic Indicators

Key statistics showing the direction of the economy. Among them are the unemployment rate, inflation rate, utilization rate, and balance of trade. See also Leading Indicators.
Economies of Scale

The tendency for certain classes of costs to decrease as a institution's size or volume of business increases.
Edge Act Corporation

An organization chartered by the Federal Reserve to engage in international banking operations. The Board acts upon applications by U.S. and foreign banking organizations to establish Edge corporations. It also examines Edge corporations and their subsidiaries. The Edge corporation gets its name from Senator Walter Edge of New Jersey, the sponsor of the original legislation to permit formation of such organizations.
Electronic Banking

A form of banking where funds are transferred through an exchange of electronic signals between financial institution, rather than exchange of cash, checks, or other negotiable instruments. The ownership of funds and transfers of funds between financial institution are recorded on computer systems connected by telephone lines. Customer identification is by access code, such as a password or Personal Identification Number (PIN), instead of a signature on a check or other physical document. See also Cyber Banking, Home Banking, Remote Banking.
Electronic Benefit Transfer

A system for electronic payment of government-sponsored benefit programs, using plastic cards and available point-of-sale (POS) technology. See also Magnetic Stripe Card.
Electronic Bill Payment & Presentment EBPP

Internet based billing service allowing consumers to view and pay credit card and other retail bills online from a personal computer. Consumers view their billing information by logging onto their bank's Internet website, decide what bills to pay, and authorize payment by electronic mail. Funds are deducted electronically from the consumer's checking account and cleared through the Federal Reserve's Automated Clearing House network.
Electronic Cash E-Cash

A system by which consumers can transfer the digital equivalent of dollars and cents (also referred to as digital cash) over the Internet or other online connections to pay for goods or information. Typically, this is associated with low transaction values or is a method used between individuals when the seller does not accept credit cards. See Also Micropayments.
Electronic Check

Electronic version of a paper check, including date, payee name, payment amount, and signature. Electronic checks (e-checks), currently being tested by several large banks, are meant for paying bills, transferring funds, or any purpose where a paper check is used today. Checks bear a digital signature security code proving payment was authorized by the account holder. See also Digital Signature.
Electronic Fund Transfer Systems EFTS

A variety of systems and technologies for transferring funds (money) electronically rather than by check. Includes Fedwire, Bankwire, automated clearinghouses (ACHs), and other automated systems. See also Automated Clearing House, Bankwire, Fedwire.
Electronic Money

Monetary value measured in currency units stored in electronic form on an electronic device in the consumer's possession. This electronic value can be purchased and held on the device until reduced through purchase or transfer.
Electronic Purse

A specific type of smart-card. A chip in the card provides multiple payment options such as debit, credit, and direct payment from a stored balance. The electronic purse allows for transactions with different merchants in many locations.
Electronic Transfer Account ETA

An ETA is a low-cost account which is made available by participating Federally insured financial institutions to individuals who receive Federal benefit, wage, salary, or retirement payments. The account allows recipients to receive Federal payments electronically in accordance with the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) provision of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (DCIA). The DCIA requires that Federal payments, except for tax refunds and except where waived by the Secretary of the Treasury, be made electronically after January 1, 1999.
Enterprise Zone

An economically depressed area that has been targeted for revitalization by a city or state through tax and other incentives given to companies that locate or expand their operations within the zone.
Entitlement Community

A city or urban community with a population of 50,000 or more which, because of its size, receives Community Development Block Grant funds directly from the federal government. Non-entitlement communities receive CDBG funds through the state office of economic development. See also Community Development Block Grant.
Equity Grant

A grant generally provided by a government agency, which reduces up-front acquisition costs to a housing or commercial development project. The grant can take a variety of forms, such as a direct cash contribution, or the contribution or reduced price sale of publicly owned land or property.
Eurodollars

Deposits denominated in U.S. dollars at banks and other financial institutions outside the United States. Although this name originated because of the large amounts of such deposits held at banks in Western Europe, similar deposits in other parts of the world are also called Eurodollars
Exchange Rate

Price at which one country's currency can be converted into another's. The exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the British pound is different from the rate between the dollar and the West German mark.
Expedited Funds Availability Act EFAA

Federal law enacted by Congress in 1987 limiting holds on checks deposited into a bank account, and requiring banks and other depository financial institutions to follow a uniform funds availability schedule in processing checks or drafts deposited into an account. Under the EFAA, the first $100 of a check is to be available for use at the opening of business the day after the deposit is made; the remaining funds on the second day after the deposit if payable by a local bank, and within five days if drawn on more distant banks.
Expiring Use Restrictions

The contractual right which owners of low- and moderate-income rental housing have to prepay their publicly assisted mortgage and convert their property to market rate housing.
Exponential Market

Where one party can be both a buyer and a seller.

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F
Farm

The farm industry comprises all wages of hired farm labor, the pay-in-kind of hired farm labor, and the salaries of officers of corporate farms.
Fed Wire

Fedwire, the Federal Reserve's funds and securities transfer service is the primary electronic transfer system in the United States. It connects Federal Reserve Banks and Branches, U.S. government agencies such as Treasury, and depository institutions. All Fedwire transfers are completed on the day they are initiated. They are guaranteed final by the central bank when the receiving institution is notified of the credit to its account.
Federal Advisory Council FAC

This group consists of one member from each Federal Reserve District (usually a banker) elected annually by the Board of Directors of each of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks. They meet with the Board to discuss business and financial conditions and make advisory recommendations.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation FDIC

Agency of the federal government that insures accounts at most commercial banks and mutual savings banks. The FDIC also has primary federal supervisory authority over insured state banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System. See also Banking Act of 1933, Glass-Steagall Act.
Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council FFIEC

An interagency group of federal banking regulator formed in 1979 to maintain uniform standards for the federal examination and supervision of federally insured depository institutions, bank holding companies, and savings and loan holding companies. Its members are OCC, the chairman of the FDIC, a member of Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the chairman of the National Credit Union. The council also produces the Uniform Bank Performance Report. See also Comptroller of the Currency, Board of Governors, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Home Loan Bank Board, National Credit Union, Uniform Bank Performance Report.
Federal Funds

Funds deposited by commercial banks at Federal Reserve Banks, including funds in excess of bank reserve requirements. Banks may lend federal funds to each other on an overnight basis at the federal funds rate. Member banks may also transfer funds among themselves or on behalf of customers on a same-day basis by debiting balances in the various reserve banks. See Fed Wire.
Federal Funds Rate

Interest rate charged by banks with excess reserves at a Federal Reserve district bank to banks needing overnight loans to meet reserve requirements. The federal funds rates is the most sensitive indicator of the direction of interest rates, since it is set daily by the market, unlike the Prime Rate and the Discount Rate, which are periodically changed by banks and by the Federal Reserve Board. See also Fedwire, Discount Rate, Prime Rate.
Federal Home Loan Bank Board FHLBB

The agency of the federal government that supervises all federal savings and loan associations and federally insured state-chartered savings and loan associations. The FHLBB also operates the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, which insures accounts at federal savings and loan associations and those state-chartered associations that apply and are accepted. In addition, the FHLBB directs the Federal Home Loan Bank System, which provides a flexible credit facility for member savings institutions to promote the availability of home financing. The FHL Banks also own the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, established in 1970 to promote secondary markets for mortgages.
Federal Housing Administration FHA

An agency of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that insures home mortgage loans originated by approved lenders to borrowers who do not meet conventional underwriting criteria. See also Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Federal National Mortgage Association Fannie Mae

A congressionally chartered private agency that purchases home mortgage loans not insured by the FHA or guaranteed by the VA from originating financial institutions. The loans are either kept in portfolio or packaged and sold as securities. Fannie Mae also offers programs for lower-income homebuyers that have more flexible underwriting guidelines.
Federal Open Market Committee FOMC

A 12-member committee consisting of the seven members of the Federal Reserve Board and five of the twelve Federal Reserve Bank presidents. The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is a permanent member while the other Federal Reserve presidents serve on a rotating basis. The Committee sets objectives for the growth of money and credit that are implemented through purchases and sales of US government securities in the open market. The FOMC also establishes policy relating to System operations in the foreign exchange markets.
Federal Reserve Act of 1913

Federal legislation that established the Federal Reserve System.
Federal Reserve Bank

One of the twelve operating arms of the Federal Reserve System, located throughout the nation, that together with their twenty-five Branches carry out various System functions, including rating a nationwide payments system, distributing the nation's currency and coin, supervising and regulating members and bank holding companies, and serving as banker of the U.S. Treasury.
Federal Reserve Float

Checkbook money that for a period of time appears on the books of both the payor and payee due to the lag in the collection Process. Federal Reserve float often arises during the Federal Reserve's check collection process. In order to promote an efficient payments mechanism with certainty as to the date funds become available, the Federal Reserve has employed the policy of crediting the reserve accounts of depository institutions depositing checks according to an availability schedule before the Federal Reserve is able to obtain payment from others.
Federal Reserve Notes

Nearly all of the nation's circulating paper currency consists of Federal Reserve notes printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and issued to the Federal Reserve Banks which put them into circulation through commercial banks and other depository institutions. Federal Reserve notes are obligations of the US government.
Federal Reserve System FRS

The central bank of the United States created by Congress, consisting of a seven member Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., 12 regional Reserve Banks, and depository institutions that are subject to reserve requirements. All national banks are members; state-chartered banks may elect to become members, and state members are supervised by the Board of Governors and the Reserve Banks. Reserve requirements established by the Federal Reserve Board apply to nonmember depository institutions as well as member banks. Both classes of institutions have access to Federal Reserve discount borrowing privileges and Federal Reserve services on an equal basis.
Finance Charge

Cost of credit, including interest paid by a customer for a consumer for a consumer loan. Under the Truth in Lending Act, the finance charge must be disclosed to the customer in advance. See also Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1988.
Financial Accounting Standard Board FASB

A panel of certified public accountants that review and offers opinions on bookkeeping practices, with most companies following the board's recommendations when putting together their financial statements and reports. See also Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
Financial Institution

An institution that uses its funds chiefly to purchase financial assets (deposits, loans, securities) as opposed to tangible property. Financial institutions can be classified according to the nature of the principal claims they issue: nondeposit intermediaries include, among others, life and property/casualty insurance companies and pension funds, whose claims are the policies they sell, or the promise to provide income after retirement; depository intermediaries obtain funds mainly by accepting deposits from the public. See also Bank, Savings Bank.
Financial Services Technology Consortium FSTC

A not-for-profit organization whose goal is to enhance the competitiveness of the United States financial services industry. Members of the consortium include banks, financial services providers, research laboratories, universities, technology companies, and government agencies.
First Accounts

Initiative of the U.S. Treasury Department funded during the Clinton administration that aims to promote financial literacy programs.
Fiscal Agency Services

Services performed by the Federal Reserve Banks for the US government. These include maintaining deposit accounts for the Treasury Department, paying US government checks drawn on the Treasury, and issuing and redeeming savings bonds and other government securities.
Fixed Rate

A traditional approach to determining the finance charge payable on an extension of credit. A predetermined and certain rate of interest is applied to the principal. See also Interest, Principal.
Flow of Funds

Quarterly Federal Reserve survey showing the movement of funds between different sectors of the economy-households, business, governments, and financial institutions. The survey "Flow of Funds Accounts" is reported monthly in the Federal Reserve Bulletin and is a useful indicator of buying preference of institutional investors; Statement in the bond resolution of a municipal bond issuer stating how municipal revenues are to be applied, generally giving priority to maintenance and operations, and bond debt service. See Also Cash Flow.
Foreign Exchange Rate

Price of the currency of one nation in terms of the currency of another nation.
Foreign Exchange Transactions

Purchase or sale of the currency of one nation with that of another. Foreign exchange rates refer to the number of units of one currency needed to purchase one unit of another, or the value of one currency in terms of another.
Foreign Fee

An ATM fee, assessed by the card issuing bank for customer's use of non-proprietary machines (averages around $1). This fee helps recoup interchange fees and also contributes to profits.
Forward Exchange Rate

Price quoted for delivery of a currency beyond the spot delivery date, or delivery in two business days. The forward rate may be quoted with a discount (forward discount) or with a premium (forward premium), depending on interest rate market demand, and so on, or as an, outright forward transaction without an offsetting purchase or sale in the spot market.
Fraud

Intentional misrepresentation, concealment, or omission of the truth for the purpose of deception or manipulation to the detriment of a person or an organization. Fraud is a legal concept an the application of the term in a specific instance should be determined by a legal expert.
FRCS-80

The communications network of the Federal Reserve which interconnects Federal Reserve Bank offices, the Board of Governors, depository institutions, and the Treasury. It is used for Fedwire transfers, transfers of US securities, as well as for transfer of Federal Reserve administrative, supervisory, and monetary policy information.
Fringe Banking

See Alternative Financial Sector, Alternative Financial Sector, Informal Financial Services.
Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act of 1978

Federal legislation that, among other things specifies the primary objectives of U.S. economic policy-maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates. See Humphrey-Hawkins Act.
Functional Cost Analysis FCA

A study based on data submitted by the individual banks to the Federal Reserve System to compare various asset, income, and cost ratios.
Funds Transfer

The internal movement of funs between accounts; The external movement of funds between banks. The complete movement of between the originator and the beneficiary consist of one or more funds transfer transactions. Seel Also called Wire Transfer.
Futures

Contracts that require delivery of a commodity of specified quality and quantity, a specified price, on a specified future date. Commodity futures are traded on a commodity exchange and are used for both speculation and hedging.
Futures Contract

Agreement to buy or sell a specific amount of a commodity or financial instrument at a particular price in a stipulated future month. The price is established between buyer and seller on the floor of a commodity exchange, using the open outcry system. A futures contract obligates the buyer to purchase the underlying commodity an the seller to sell it, unless the contract is sold to another before settlement date, which may happen if a trader waits to take a profit or cut a loss. This contrasts with options trading, in which the option buyer may choose whether or not to exercise the option by the exercise date. See also Futures Market.
Futures Market

The market for trading contracts for the future settlement of foreign exchange, commodities, or financial instruments.

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G-10 (Group of Ten) Countries

Organizations of central banks of the major industrial countries. Member banks coordinate banking industry supervision through the Bank for International Settlements and monetary policy through the International Monetary Fund. Founding members are central bank from Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Switzerland has also joined as a full-fledged member. See also International Monetary Fund.
G-24 (Group of Twenty-four)

See Organization For Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
G-5 (Group of Five) Countries

The United States, Germany, Japan, France. and England.
G-7 (Group of Seven) Countries

A international group comprised of finance ministers of the seven leading industries democracies who meet to coordinate economic and monetary policy. The group are Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Canada, and the United States.
Game theory

A theory of individual rational decisions taken under conditions of less than full information concerning the outcomes of those decisions.
Garnishment

A notice to an employer or other asset holder requiring that monies, wages, or property due a debtor be withheld and given a creditor to be applied to a specific debt in arrears.
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles GAAP

Conventions, rules, and procedures that define accepted accounting practice, including broad guidelines as well as detailed procedures. The basic doctrine was set forth by the Accounting Principles Board of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which was superseded in 1973 by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), an independent self-regulatory organization. See Also Financial Accounting Standards Board.
Glass-Steagall Act

A portion of the Federal Banking Act of 1933 primarily concerned with the separation of commercial and investment banking. It prohibited commercial banks from securities underwriting and mandated that the Federal Reserve establish interest rate ceilings on certain balance sheet items. It also established the FDIC. See also Banking Act of 1933, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Government National Mortgage Association Ginnie Mae

A part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that guarantees mortgage-backed securities and manages a portfolio of federally-owned mortgages. Ginnie Mae does not purchase loans.
Graduated Payment

Repayment terms calling for gradual increases in the payments on a closed-end obligation. A graduated payment loan usually involves negative amortization. See also Amortization.
Grameen Bank

Microcredit organization that provides credit without use of collateral to the poor in rural Bangladesh. Lending is made to promote small business and community development.
Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999

A federal legislation that removed Depression-era Glass prohibitions of the Glass-Steagall Act barring cross-ownership of banks, securities firms, and insurance companies. Commercial banks are now permitted to own insurance companies and engage in securities underwriting through federally regulated subsidiaries. A complex piece of legislation, the act marks the culmination of efforts dating to the early 1980s to modernize the U.S. financial services industry.
Grandfathered Activities

Nonbank activities, some of which would normally not be permissible for bank holding companies and foreign banks in the United States, but which were acquired or engaged in before a particular date. Such activities may be continued under the "grandfather" clauses of the Bank Holding Company Act and the International Banking Act.
Gresham's Law

Sir Thomas Gresham, an English economist, theorized that if a country has two forms of currency, citizen will hoard the currency with the higher intrinsic value, thus forcing the other currency out of circulation.
Gross Domestic Product GDP

A country's total output of goods and services from all forms of economic activity measured at market prices for a calendar year. See also Economic Growth Rate.
Gross National Product GNP

Total value of goods and services produced in the economy.
Guarantor

The person or legal entity who makes a guaranty. See also Guaranty.
Guaranty

A term used to refer contract in which one person becomes liable to perform a specific act or duty for another upon that person's failure to perform. A guarantor promises either that another person will perform his or her duty or that, if the other person does not perform his or her duty, the promisor will. Nonperformance by the other person is a condition precedent to the guarantor's duty to pay or perform. See also Guarantor.

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H
Hedge

A measure used to offset losses or potential losses. For example, gold and oil often are used as investments to hedge, or offset, inflation.
Hedge Fund

Fund that has relatively unregulated investment partnership. With limited restrictions, fund managers can seek high rates of return by increasing financial leverage, taking both long and short positions, and trading complex derivatives. Typically, management has an incentive-based contract where fees vary directly with fund profitability.
Hedging

Taking action to neutralize risk. Investors, dealers, and bankers hedge in various markets, including the stock, option, foreign exchange, and commodity markets. Hedging entails controlling the risk of one transaction by engaging in an offsetting transaction.
Herfindahl-Hirschman Index HHI

A mathematical calculation that uses market share figures to determine whether or not a proposed merger will be challenged by the government.
Home Banking

Banking transactions that retail customers can perform from their homes or offices. Services typically include obtaining the current balance in a checking or savings account, moving funds between accounts at the financial institution, and paying bills. Sometimes services include purchases of deposit or mutual fund shares, and applying for loans. Customers can use telephones, screen phones, or PCs, depending on how the services are structured. Also referred to as cyberbanking, electronic banking, remote banking or online banking. See also Cyberbanking, Electronic banking, Remote Banking.
Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975 HMDA

A federal law requiring certain depository institutions to disclose the amount and location of their home mortgage activities to the public and government officials. This act is governed by Regulation C of the Federal Reserve System and administered by the applicable regulation agency.
Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994

(HOEPA) (15 U.S.C. 1639) (Reg. Z) Federal law that regulates high-cost loans. See Also Regulation Z and Truth in Lending.
Homesteading

A process whereby residents of municipally-owned properties are allowed to purchase their units at a nominal price.
Housing Partnership

A non-profit organization that brings together the interests, resources, and financial support of public agencies, local businesses, banks, and community-based organizations to increase the supply of affordable housing in a particular city or state. HPs generally work with local CDCs to design and implement projects, and assume responsibility for securing financing and providing technical assistance to the project. See also Community Development Corporation.
Housing Starts

Award of a building permit for construction of new residential multifamily and single family housing. The volume of housing starts, gauging consumer demand for residential mortgages, is one of the 12 leading economic indicators compiled by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Housing Trust Fund

A fund established by state legislation or a city ordinance that uses public capital to finance the construction or renovation of affordable housing. The fund is designed to have an ongoing source of revenue, usually from tax or program- generated revenue, or from development ordinance requirements. HTFs are typically administered by a public agency.
Humphrey-Hawkins Act

Informal name for the Full Employment and Balance Growth Act of 1978, from the names of the original sponsors. See also Full Employment and Balance Growth Act of 1978.

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I
Inclusionary Zoning

A zoning ordinance that requires a developer to include affordable housing (or its funding) as part of the development. Typically, a developer makes a certain percentage of the units affordable in exchange for a density bonus.
Independent Bank

A locally owned and operated commercial bank. It derives its sources of funds from, and it lends money to the community where it operates, and is not affiliated with a multibank holding company. Also called community bank. See also Community Bank.
Index Fund

A mutual fund that invests in stocks that reflect the composition of one of the leading market indicators, such as Standard & Poor's 500 index. The intention is to mirror market performance.
Individual Development Account IDA

Special savings accounts for low-income families often restricted to first home purchase, higher education, or small business capitalization. A portion of the deposited funds are matched by one or more of the following institutions: federal and state government, banks and credit unions, community-based organizations, foundations, and churches. Families saving in an IDA program receive the help of a non-profit organization that usually requires financial literacy training.
Industrial Production

Monthly statistic released by the Federal Reserve Board on the total output of all U.S. factories and mines. These numbers are a key economic indicator. See also Economic Indicator.
Inflation

Rise in the prices of goods and services, as happens when spending increase relative to the supply of goods on the market. Moderate inflation is a common result of economic growth. Hyperinflation, with prices rising at 100% a year or more, causes people to lose confidence in the currency and put their assets in hard assets like real estate or gold, which usually retain their value in inflationary times.
Information Contract

A formal agreement that is executed between a website host and an individual consumer. This arrangement details exactly what information the host site intends to collect from the consumer, what uses will be made of that data, and the compensation to be paid the consumer for the use of that data. The contract should provide the consumer with an ability to opt out of the arrangement.
Initial Public Offering IPO

Stock issued by a firm that is going public for the first time. As such, the firm's stock has never trade previously.
Installment Credit

A loan, extended by financial institution or retail firms, to be repaid along with interest charge in fixed periodic payments or, if variable rate of interest is charged, to be repaid in amounts that vary with the interest charged.
Interchange Fee

Charge levied by the ATM/POS terminal owner against another institution whose customer has used that device. Fees vary by type of transaction activity: transfer, withdrawal, inquiry (lowest), and deposit (highest).
Interest

The amount of money a lender loans a borrower to pay for using the borrower's principal.
Interest Subsidy

A subsidy, usually government-sponsored, which reduces the interest a borrower is required to pay on a loan. The subsidy can take one of three forms: a direct cash grant to a lending institution to write-down the bank's interest rate on a business or housing loan; a government-sponsored, low-interest loan subordinated to a participating lender; or a lower-than-market-rate loan to a qualified borrower as a result of an advance or pass-through provision from a public entity. Projects that qualify for such subsidies are deemed to provide some public benefit.
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development IBRD

An organization that provides loans for economic development to member countries when private funds are unavailable. It was founded at the economic conference held at Bretton Woods in 1944 and began operations in 1946. Also called the World Bank. The World Bank works closely with International Monetary Fund (IMF) and has 149 member countries. The World Bank finances its operation through member subscriptions, sale of its securities, and net earnings.
International Banking Facility IBF

In general, these facilities can accept time deposits from foreign customers free of reserve requirements and interest rate limitations, and can lend to foreigners if the funds are for the conduct of foreign business outside of the U.S. Net borrowing from these facilities by domestic banking offices is subject to reserve requirements.
International Monetary Fund

An international organization with 146 members, including the United States. The main functions of the International Monetary Fund are to lend funds to member nations to finance temporary balance of payments problems, to facilitate the expansion and balanced growth of international trade, and to promote international monetary cooperation among nations. The IMF also creates special drawing rights (SDRs), which provide member nations with a source of additional reserves. Member nations are required to subscribe to a Fund quota, paid mainly in their own currency. The IMF grew out of the Bretton Woods Conference of 1944. See also G-10 (Group of Ten) Countries.
International Organization for Standardization ISO

It's an organization acting as a central clearinghouse for industry standards drafted by national standard setting organizations. The American National Standards Institute is the U.S. representative of ISO.
Internet Banking

Financial services accessed via the Internet's World Wide Web. Banks use the Internet to deliver information about financial services, replace transactions done in branch offices, which eliminates the need to build new branches, and to service customers more efficiently. Internet banking sites offer the prospect of more convenient ways to manage personal finances, and such services as paying bills online, finding mortgage or auto loans, applying credit cards, and locating the nearest ATM or branch office.
Issuer

A financial institution or other organization responsible for supplying credit cards, debit accounts, checks, electronic tokens, and so on. An issuer sets the card or account holder's credit limit, pays or redeems transactions or balances presented, and funds the free credit period and any extended credit.

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Jumbo Certificate of Deposit

A certificate with a minimum denomination of $100,000. Jumbo CDs are usually bought and sold by large institutions such as banks, pension funds, money market funds, and insurance companies. See also Certificate of Deposit.
Junk Bond

A form of bond that, because of its very low credit rating or no credit rating at all, is considered a high-risk investment and consequently carries a high interest rate. Junk bonds have become increasingly popular in recent years in financing corporate transactions such as leveraged buyouts. 
K
Keogh Plan

A retirement plan for self-employed people and their employees, to yearly tax deductible contributions up to a specified limit can be made if the plan meets certain requirements of the Internal Revenue Code.
Keynesian

A term used to describe the economic theories of John Maynard Keynes. A key feature of those theories is the assumption that fiscal policies are important determinants of short- run economic activity. 
L
Labor Force

The number of people employed plus the number of unemployed
Labor Market

The input/factor market in which households supply work for wages to firms that demand labor.
Labor Productivity

Output per worker; the amount of output produced by an average worker in one hour.
Lagging Indicator

An economic data series that consistently moves with overall activity but turns up or down later that general economy.
Land Bank

A public agency which provides below-market financing for the purchase or refinancing of undeveloped land for the purpose of developing affordable housing and economic revitalization projects.
Large-dollar Funds Transfer System

A funds transfer system through which large-dollar and high-priority funds transfers are made between participants in the system for their own account or on behalf of their customers. Sometimes known as wholesale funds transfers systems.
Laundered Money

Deposit of funds that is sent through numerous accounts, one after another, in an attempt to conceal the original source of the money. See Also Money Laundering.
Leading and Lagging

Making cross-border payments from one subsidiary to another either ahead of schedule (leading) or behind schedule (lagging) as a means of moving liquidity from one entity to another.
Leading Indicators

Components of an index released monthly by the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis. A measure used to predict the financial condition and stability of a particular industry or the economy in general, represented by such indicators as the unemployment rate. The index of leading indicators, the components of which are adjusted for inflation, has accurately forecast ups and downs in the business cycle. Official full name: Composite Index of 11 Leading Indicators. See also Economic Indicators.
Lease Financing

A specialized area of finance dealing with renting property owned by a lender, financing the leases of a company engaged in rentals, financing the purchase of an item to be leased out by a borrower.
Lender of Last Resort

The Federal Reserve, as the nation's central bank, has the authority and financial resources to act as "lender of last resort" by extending credit to depository institutions or to other entities in unusual circumstances involving a national or regional emergency; particularly where failure to obtain credit would have a severe adverse impact on the economy.
Letter of Credit

A document issued by a financial institution on behalf of a buyer stating the amount of credit the buyer has available, and that the institution will honor drafts up to that amount written by the buyer. It gives the buyer the prestige and financial backing of the issuing institution and satisfies the requirements of the seller in completing the transaction. The accepting institution has a prior agreement as to how the buyer will pay for the drafts as they are presented.
Leveraged Buy Out LBO

A person, company, group of company employees, or entity that borrows money to buy controlling interest in a company. This is a usually done by using the company's assets as security for the loans taken out by the acquiring party and repaying the loans from the company's cash flow.
LIBOR

See London Interbank Offer Rate
Lifeline Accounts

(also known as Basic or Low-Cost Bank Accounts)
Low-cost deposit accounts available to targeted consumers. Offering this type of account is required by law in some states. See also Bank Accounts, Low-Cost Bank Accounts.
Limited Appreciation

A restriction on the amount of appreciation that a property owner can realize at the point-of-sale.
Limited Equity Homeownership LEH

Multifamily residences owned and controlled by tenants in which resale values are restricted in order to maintain the long-term affordability of the units. LEH residences are often developed with public assistance in the form of relaxed zoning regulations or the discounted sale of publicly owned land, in order to reduce development costs. LEH can take the form of a cooperative or a condominium.
Linked Deposit

The utilization of public money to encourage private lending that is beneficial to community interests. Specifically, a deposit of public funds by a city or state government in a local financial institution earmarked for a specific project or type of financing (e.g. agricultural loans). Typically, these deposits receive a below-market rate of return in exchange for a commitment from the depository institution to provide low-interest loans to qualified borrowers that have been judged to have a superior record in the area of community development. These deposits are not necessarily earmarked for a particular usage but are conditional in the sense that they will be withdrawn if the institution's record worsens.
Liquidity

The degree to which assets of a company or an investment can easily be sold or converted into cash.
Liquidity Risk

In banking, risk that a depository institution will not have sufficient cash or liquid assets to meet borrower and depositor demand.
Loan

Transaction wherein an owner of property, called Lender, allows another party, the Borrower, to use the property. The borrower customarily promises to return the property, after a specified period with payment for its use, called Interest. The documentation of the promise is called a promissory note when the property is cash.
Loan Consortium

A collaboration among financial institutions that pools capital to lend to affordable housing and community development projects. The consortium can be structured as an independent non-profit corporation or an informal lending agreement. The former has paid staff who are responsible for all aspects of the lending process, while the latter relies on collaboration among participating institutions to select and service the loans. An institution's participation in each loan may be predetermined or done on a case-by-case basis.
Loan Guarantee

A program offered by state and federal agencies which decreases a lender's risk by guaranteeing a portion of a debt against default. Loan guarantees apply to both business and housing loans, and target projects that offer a public benefit, but are considered too risky to finance privately without the guarantee.
Loan Loss Reserve

A statement of condition, or balance sheet, account set up by a bank based on its expectations about future loan losses. As losses occur, they are charged against this reserve. That is, that loan account is credited and the reserve account is debited. The reserve is established by a debit to an expense account called the loan loss provision, with a corresponding credit the loan loss reserve. Also called allowance for loan losses and reserve for possible credit losses.
Local Development Corporation LDC

An investment company that has been certified by the Small Business Administration to help finance small businesses. An LDC can obtain special financing from the SBA that enables it to extend long-term, fixed-asset financing to local small businesses.
Lockbox

A banking service provided for the rapid collection of a customer's receivables and rapid credit to the customer's account. The service includes collecting the mail from the company's post office box; sorting, totaling, and recording the payments; processing the items; and making the necessary bank deposit.
London Interbank Offer Rate LIBOR

An international money market interest rate representing the average rate offered by banks for the interbank placements of Eurodollars.

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M
M1

The sum of currency held by the public, plus travelers' checks, plus demand deposits, plus other checkable deposits (i.e., negotiable order of withdrawal [NOW] accounts, and automatic transfer service [ATS] accounts, and credit union share drafts.)
M2

M1 plus savings accounts and small-denomination time deposits, plus shares in money market mutual funds (other than those restricted to institutional investors), plus overnight Eurodollars and repurchase agreements.
M3

M2 plus large-denomination time deposits at all depository institutions, large-denomination term repurchase agreements, and shares in money market mutual funds restricted to institutional investors.
Macroeconomics

The branch of economics that deals with the economy as a whole. Macroeconomics focuses on determinants of total national income, deals with aggregates such as aggregates consumption and investment, and looks at the overall level of prices rather than individual prices. See also Microeconomics.
Magnetic Stripe Card

A plastic or paper card with a magnetic stripe containing information about the card owner, the financial value of the card, or other related information. Some examples include credit cards, debit cards, electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards, public transit fare cards, and telephone usage cards. See Also Automated Teller Machine, Credit Card, Debit Card.
Margin

With regard to securities, this term refers to a fractional amount of full value, or the equity outlay (down payment) required for an investment in securities purchased on credit.
Margin Requirement

Minimum amount that a client must deposit in the form of cash or eligible securities in a margin account as spelled out in Regulation T of the Federal Reserve Board. Reg T requires a minimum 50% of the purchase price of eligible securities bought on margin or 50% of the proceeds of short sales. Also called initial margin.
Margin Stock

Any stock listed on a national securities exchange, any over-the-counter security approved by the SEC for trading in the national market system, or appearing on the Board's list of over-the-counter margin stock and most mutual funds.
Markov Process

An ordered set of discrete random variables, each of which has at any time a given state or value dependent only to the state of the variable immediately before it. It assumes that only the current value of a stochastic (random) variable is important in predicting future values of the variable.
Matched Sale-Purchase Agreements

When the Federal Reserve makes a matched sale-purchase agreement, it sells a security outright for immediate delivery to a dealer or foreign central bank, with an agreement to buy the security back on a specific date (usually within 7 days) at the same price. Matched sale-purchase agreements are the reverse of repurchase agreements and allow the Federal Reserve to withdraw reserves on a temporary basis.
Mean Income

Mean income is calculated by dividing the total income of area residents by the number of residents in the area. Mean household income is obtained by dividing the total household income by the number of people living in the household.
Median Income

Median income divides the income distribution into two equal parts, one with residents having incomes above the median and the other with residents having incomes below the median. Median family and household incomes are based on the distribution of the total number of units including those with no income. However, the median income calculation for persons is based on persons with income.
Merger

The combination of two or more enterprises. If the enterprises are of the corporate type, the merger involves the exchange of securities, the issuance of new securities, or both.
Mergers and Acquisitions

Business combination of two or more entities; the Department of a consulting or management services entity that provides advice to other companies on potential business combination.
Metropolitan Statistical Area

A federally designated geographically unit consisting of an urbanized area a central city of least 50,000 residents and a regional population of 100,000. Federal banking regulations permit financial institutions doing business within an MSA to use a single master account in dealing with the Federal Reserve for computing reserve requirements, processing checks, and sending electronic fund transfers.
Microeconomics

The branch of economics that deals with the functioning of individual industries, and the behavior of individual decision-making units-business firms and household.
Microenterprise Loan Fund

A non-profit revolving loan fund that provides small, short-term loans for working capital and technical assistance to very small businesses. Loan sizes may range from $50 to several thousand dollars. Terms are more flexible than available conventional financing.
Micropayments

Allow content providers to charge very small fees (a fraction of a penny) for access to a site or other electronic information. The aggregated payments are then deducted from a user's e-cash account or credit card, making the experience highly fluid. However, unless users are conducting volume transactions, the cost of processing is far greater than the revenue generated - also, users have to be willing to set-up an e-cash account. See Also Electronic Cash.
Monetary Aggregates

Aggregate measures through which the Federal Reserve monitors the nation's monetary assets: M1, M2, and M3.
Monetary Policy

Federal Reserve actions to influence the availability and cost of money and credit, as a means of helping to promote high employment, economic growth, price stability, and a sustainable pattern of international transactions. Tools of monetary policy include open market operations, discount policy, and reserve requirements. See also Open Market Operations, Discount Policy, and Reserve Requirements
Money

Anything that serves as a generally accepted medium of exchange, a standard of value, and a means to save or store purchasing power. In the US, paper currency (nearly all of which consists of Federal Reserve notes), coin and funds in checking and similar accounts at depository institutions are examples of money. See also Currency.
Money Laundering

The term given to the process in which money from illegal activities is transferred into legal investment or converted into other assets. See also Laundered Money.
Money Laundering Act of 1986

Legislation that established the federal crime of money laundering and other related crimes and provides for the punishment of those crimes. It requires the banks and saving institution have in place a reporting system to monitor cash transactions under $10,000.
Money Market Certificate

A certificate of deposit in a minimum denomination of $10,000 with a maturity of six months. The interest rate on money market certificates is related to the yield on six-month Treasury bills, in accordance with regulations issued by the Depository Institutions Deregulation Committee. See Also Depository Institutions Deregulation Committee.
Money Smart

Developed by the FDIC, Money $mart is designed to help adults currently outside the financial mainstream build financial knowledge and develop positive relationships with financial institutions. See also Project Money $mart.
Money Stock

Total quantity of money available for transactions and investment; measures of the U.S. money stock include M1, M2 and M3. (Also referred to as the money supply, or simply money). See also M1, M2, M3, Money Supply.
Money Supply

The total amount of money available for transactions and investment in the economy. Also known as the money stock. The Federal Reserve Board uses various statistical measures to measure the various forms of money that make up the money supply. See also M1, M2, M3, Money Stock.
Money Transfer

See Wire Transfer
Mortgage

Debt instrument by which the borrower (mortgagor) gives the lender (mortgage) a lien a property as security for the repayment of a loan. The borrower has use of the property, and the lien is removed when the obligation is fully paid. A mortgage normally involves real estate. See also Debt.
Mortgage Loan

A loan used to finance the lender beyond conventional interest payments as an incentive to grant a loan on income property. A mortgage kicker is typically an interest in equity or annual income. See also Debt, Loan.
Mortgage-Backed Securities

Securities representing an undivided interest in a pool of mortgages or trust deeds with similar characteristic. Payments on the underlying mortgages are used to make payments to the security holders. Mortgage-backed securities, such as those issued by the Federal National Mortgage Association, are secured by conventional mortgage and guaranteed as to interest and principal.
Mutual Fund

A registered investment trust company. A mutual fund is an "open-end" investment company whose primary activity is investing, usually in a diversified portfolio of securities. The stockholder in a mutual fund buys shares from, or sells them back to, the mutual fund in a direct sale, not through a stock exchange. 

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National Association of Securities Dealers NASD

A self-regulatory organization with jurisdiction over certain broker-dealers. The NASD requires member brokers to register, and conducts examinations for compliance with net capital requirements and other regulations. It also conducts market surveillance of the over-the-counter (OTC) securities market. NASDAQ is a subsidiary of the NASD which facilitates the trading of approximately 5,000 most active OTC issues through an electronically connected network. See also National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations, Over-the Counter Stocks.
National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations NASDAQ

An automated data network providing brokers and dealers with price quotations on securities traded in the over-the-counter market. See also National Association of Securities Dealers, Over-the-Counter Stocks.
National Automated Clearing House Association NACHA

A not for profit banking trade association with the largest number of member financial institutions in the country. NACHA promulgates the rules and operating guidelines for electronic payments through the ACH Network, and for EBT, electronic checks, financial EDI and cross-border transactions. The ACH Network links America's depository financial institutions to the nationwide electronic payment and collection infrastructure. See Automated Clearing House, Electronic Benefit Transfer, Electronic Check, Electronic Data Interchange.
National Bank

A commercial bank that is chartered by the Comptroller of the Currency; by law, national banks are members of the Federal Reserve System. See also Comptroller of the Currency.
National Housing Act

A law that established the Federal Housing Administration, which insures home mortgages, provides home improvement loans, and finances low-income housing projects. See also Federal Housing Administration.
Negative Amortization

Repayment schedule calling for periodic payments that are insufficient to fully amortize the loan. Earned but unpaid interest is added to the principal, increasing the debt. Eventually, payments must be rescheduled to fully pay off the debt. See also Amortization, Balloon Mortgage.
Negotiable Order of Withdrawal Account NOW

An interest earning account on which checks may be drawn. Withdrawals from NOW accounts may be subject to a 14-day or more notice requirement although such is rarely imposed. NOW accounts may be offered by commercial banks, mutual savings banks, and savings and loan associations and may be owned only by individuals and certain nonprofit organizations and governmental units.
Neighborhood Housing Services NHS

A national network of neighborhood-based service organizations that are locally operated and funded. An NHS focuses on a specific community or communities to increase the supply of affordable housing and promote neighborhood stabilization by providing below-market construction and rehabilitation financing, technical assistance, and support for resident activism. Board members include local residents, business leaders, public officials, and community representatives. All NHSs receive assistance from, and are monitored by, the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation.
Neighborhood Housing Services of America

A private, non-profit tax-exempt corporation which acts as a secondary market to purchase nonbankable loans from local NHS revolving loan funds.
Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation

A congressionally chartered, federally- funded, public non-profit corporation established in 1978 whose mission is to assist in the revitalization of lower-income neighborhoods and in the provision of affordable housing in these neighborhoods. NRC works mainly through local NHSs, providing training, operational grants, and technical assistance.
Non-bank Bank

An institution created under an interpretation of law which allows nonbanking companies to open banking offices and commercial banks to open limited service branches across state line despite the then effective statutory ban on interstate banking.
Non-member Depository Institution

A depository institution (commercial bank, mutual savings bank, savings and loan association, credit union, or US agency or branch of a foreign bank) that is not a member of the Federal Reserve System. Nonmember depository institutions that offer transaction accounts or nonpersonal time deposits are subject to reserve requirements set by the Federal Reserve, and they also have access to the Federal Reserve discount window and Federal Reserve services on the same terms as member banks. See Also Member Bank.
Now Account

Deregulated transaction authorized for depository institution in 1982. It paid interest higher than on a conventional NOW (Negotiable Order of Withdrawal) account but slightly lower than that on the Money Market Deposit Account (MMDA). 

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O
Obligation

The requirement imposed on debtor to pay a debt and the legal right of a creditor to enforce payment.
Offshore Banking

A banking unit that conducts business in other countries but is not allowed to do business in the country it is located.
Online Banking

Access by personal computer or terminal to bank information, accounts and certain transactions via the financial institution’s web site on the Internet. Also known as Internet banking.
Online Bill Paying

A common form of home banking bill-paying service where the customer's computer is connected to a computer at a financial institution or its proxy the entire time that bill-paying transactions are performed. More generally, online home banking means that the customer's computer is continuously connected to another computer while all transactions are performed. If a telephone line is used to make the connection, online means that the line is busy while all transactions performed in one session are carried out, similar to a telephone call to an individual. See also Online Banking, Home Banking, Cyberbanking.
Open Market Operations

Purchases and sales of government and certain other securities in the open market by the New York Federal Reserve Bank as directed by the FOMC in order to influence the volume of money and credit in the economy. Purchases inject reserves into the depository system and foster expansion in money and credit; sales have the opposite effect. Open market operations are the Federal Reserve's most important and most flexible monetary policy tool. They are used to promote either higher or lower growth in money and credit and to offset undesired changes in the reserve positions of depository institutions stemming from movements in currency, float, Treasury deposits, and other factors. See also Federal Reserve Open Market.
Open Stored Value System

A system that may be comprised of one or more electronic cash issuers of stored value that is accepted by multiple merchants or entities.
Open-End Credit

A line of credit that may be used repeatedly up to a certain limit, also called a charge account or revolving credit
Open-End Lease

A lease that may involve a balloon payment based on the value of the property when it is returned. (Also called finance lease.) See also Balloon Payment.
Option

A contract that provides the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a specific amount of a specific security within a predetermined time period. One call option contract gives the buyer the right to purchase, or a put buyer to sell, 100 shares of the underlying stock in exchange for a premium based on the time value. The seller of the contracts is called the writer. See also Futures.
Organization For Economic Cooperation and Development OECD

Official group of 24 nations, including most of the major industrialized countries, that was formed in 1961 to coordinate economic and social policies among its members and promote economic assistance to developing countries. Its members are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Yugoslavia takes part in certain work of the OECD and is included in certain statistics relating to OECD countries. It's based in Paris. See also G-24 (Group of Twenty-four)
Overcrowded and Severely Overcrowded Units

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, these are defined as units that have 1.01 to 1.49 persons per room. Severely overcrowded units are those that have 1.5 or more persons per room. See also Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Overdraft Checking Account

A checking account associated with a line of credit that allows a person to write checks for more than the actual balance in the account, with a finance charge on the overdraft. 
P
Payday Loan

A transaction in which a short-term cash advance is made to a consumer in exchange for a customer's post-dated check in the amount of the advance plus a fee, or in exchange for a consumer's authorization to debit a transaction account in the amount of the advance plus a fee at a designated future date.
Payment Mechanism

Systems designed for the movement of funds, payments, and money between financial institutions throughout the nation. The Federal Reserve plays a major role in the nation's payments mechanism through distribution of currency and coin, check processing, wire transfer of funds, and the operation of automated clearinghouses that transfer funds electronically among depository institutions. Federal Reserve payments mechanism services are made available to both member banks and nonmember depository institutions on the basis of uniform pricing schedules.
Payment System

A financial system that establishes the means for transferring money between suppliers and users of funds, usually by exchanging debits or credits between financial institutions.
Per Capita Income

This income measure is the total personal income of the residents of a given area divided by the resident population of the area. Per capita income is actually the mean income computed for every man, woman, and child in a particular group. It is often used as an indicator of the quality of consumer markets and of the well being of the residents of an area.
Permissible Non-bank Activities

Financial activities closely related to banking that may be engaged in by bank holding companies, either directly or through nonbank subsidiaries. Examples are owning finance companies and engaging in mortgage banking. The Board determines which activities are closely related to banking. Before making such activities permissible, the Board must also determine that performance of the activities by bank holding Companies is in the public interest.
Personal Identification Number PIN

A sequence of digits assigned to consumers that are used to identify them when debit cards are used at an ATM, POS terminals or a home device. See also ATM, Credit Card, Debit Card, Magnetic Stripe Card.
Personal Loan

An unsecured loan usually made for the purpose of debt consolidation, vacation or the purchase of durable goods. Also called a signature loan. See also Consumer Credit, Signature Loan.
Phillips Curve

A graph showing the relationship between the inflation rate and the unemployment.
Point-of- Sale Network

An electronic device that allows merchants to accept a debit card in payment for goods or services to effect payment for purchases at retail establishments. The same device may also be used to accept credit card payments.
Points

Finance charges paid by the borrower at the beginning of a loan in addition to monthly interest; each point equals one percent of the loan amount. See also Finance Charge.
Portfolio

Collection of loan or assets, classified by type of borrower or asset. For example, a bank's portfolio might include loans, investment securities, and assets managed in trust; the loan portfolio might include commercial, mortgage, and consumer installment loans.
Predatory Lending

Unscrupulous lending that involves at least one of the following elements: - making high-cost loans based on the assets of the borrower rather than on the borrower's ability to repay the obligation - inducing a borrower to refinance a loan repeatedly in order to charge high points and fees each time the loan is refinanced ("loan flipping") - engaging in fraud or deception to conceal the true cost of the loan obligation (e.g. terms and fees) from an unsuspecting or unsophisticated borrower.
Prepaid Card

A card on which value is stored, and for which the holder has paid the issuer in advance. Telephone cards are a common example of prepaid cards.
Prime Rate

The interest rate charged by leading banks to their best, most secure customers. The rate is determined by the market forces affecting a banks' cost of funds and the rates that borrower will accept.
Principal

Major party to a transaction, acting as either a buyer or a seller. A principal buys and sells for his or her own account and risk. It is also refers to the amount initially lent for a loan or mortgage.
Producer Price Index

Measure of change in wholesale prices, as released monthly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The index is broken down into components by commodity, industry sector, and stage of processing. See also Consumer Price Index.
Productivity

The amount of physical output for each unit of productive input.
Project Money $mart

Chicago Fed's Project Money $mart, is an ongoing series of activities that promote education about a wide range of personal finance topics. See Money Smart.
Promissory Note

A written promise made by one person, the maker, to pay a certain sum of money to another person, the payee, or to his or her order, on demand or at a determinable future date.
Purchasing Power

The amount of goods or services that one unit of money or one unit of an asset can buy.
Pyramid debt

The borrowing of funds in rapid succession without firs repaying previous debt, usually to meet obligation on earlier loans. Such a practice will rapidly erode a borrower's financial position. 

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Q

R
Real Estate

The right, title, or interest that a person has in real property, as distinguished from the property itself.
Real Estate Investment Trust REIT

An organization, usually corporate, established to accumulate funds for investment in real estate holdings, or to extend credit to others engaged in construction. Funds for investment are usually accumulated by selling shares of ownership in the trust.
Recession

A significant decline in general economic activity extending over a period of time.
Redlining

A practice in which certain areas of a community are eliminated from eligibility for mortgages or other loans, either intentionally or unintentionally, allegedly because the area is considered a poor investment risk.
Regional Bank

A bank that specializes in collecting deposits and making loans in one region of the country, as distinguished from a Money Center Bank, which operates nationally and internationally.
Regional Check Processing Center RCPC

A Federal Reserve check processing operation that clears checks drawn on depository institutions located within a specified area. RCPCs expedite collection and settlement of checks within the area on an overnight basis.
Regulation 9

A regulation issued by the Comptroller of the Currency establishing standards for national banks in their use of fiduciary powers and collective investment funds. The full title is Regulation.
Regulation A - Extensions of Credit by Federal Reserve Bank

Governs by depository institutions at the Federal Reserve discount window.
Regulation AA - Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices

Establishes consumer complaint procedures and defines unfair or deceptive practices in extending credit to consumers.
Regulation B - Equal Credit Opportunity

Prohibits lenders from discriminating against credit applicants, establishes guidelines for Gathering and evaluating credit information, and requires written notification when credit is denied
Regulation BB - Community Reinvestment

Implements the Community Reinvestment Act and encourages banks to help meet the credit needs of their communities.
Regulation C - Home Mortgage Disclosure

Requires certain mortgage lenders to disclose data regarding their lending patterns.
Regulation CC - Availability of Funds and Collection of Checks

Governs the availability of funds deposited in checking accounts and the collection and return of checks.
Regulation D - Reserve Requirements of Depository Institutions

Sets uniform requirements for all depository institutions to maintain reserve balances either with their Federal Reserve Bank or as cash in their vaults.
Regulation DD - Truth in Savings

Requires depository institutions to provide disclosures to enable consumers to make meaningful comparisons of deposit accounts.
Regulation E - Electronic Funds Transfers

Establishes the rights, liabilities, and responsibilities of parties in electronic funds transfers and protects consumers when they use such systems.
Regulation EE - Netting Eligibility for Financial Institution

Defines financial institutions to be covered by statutory provisions regarding netting contracts-that is, contracts in which parties agree to pay or receive the net, rather than the gross, payment due.
Regulation F - Limitations on Interbank Liabilities

Prescribes standards to limit the risks posed by obligations of insured depository Institutions to other depository institutions.
Regulation G - Securities Credit by Persons other than Banks, Brokers, or Dealers

Governs extension of credit by parties other than banks, brokers, or dealers to finance the purchase or the carrying of margin securities; see also regulations T, U, and X.
Regulation H - Membership of State Banking Institutions in the Federal Reserve System


Defines the requirements for membership by state-chartered banks in the Federal Reserve System and establishes minimum levels for the ratio of capital to assets to be maintained by state member banks.
Regulation I - Issue and Cancellation of Capital Stock of Federal Reserve Banks

Sets forth stock-subscription requirements for all banks joining the Federal Reserve System.
Regulation J - Collections of Checks and Other Items by Federal Reserve Banks and Funds Transfers th

Establishes procedures, duties and responsibilities among (1) Federal Reserve Banks, (2) the senders and payors of checks and other items, and (3) the senders and recipients of wire transfers of funds.
Regulation K - International Banking Operations

Governs the international banking operations of U.S. banking organization and the operations of foreign banks in the United States.
Regulation L - Management Official Interlocks

Restricts the management relationships that an official in one depository institution may have with other depository institution.
Regulation M - Consumer Leasing

Implements the consumer leasing provisions of the Truth in Lending Act by requiring meaningful disclosure of leasing terms.
Regulation N - Relations with Foreign Banks and Bankers

Governs relationship and transactions between Federal Reserve Banks and foreign banks, bankers, or governments.
Regulation O - Loans to Executive Officers, Directors, and Principal Shareholders of Member Banks

Restricts credit that a member bank may extend to its executive officers, directors, and principal shareholders and their related interests.
Regulation P - Minimum Security Devices and Procedures for Federal Reserve Banks and State Member

Sets requirements for security program that state-chartered member banks must establish to discourage robberies, burglaries, and larcenies.
Regulation Q - Prohibition Against Payment on Interest on Demand Deposits

Prohibits member banks from paying interest on demand deposits (for example, checking Accounts.
Regulation R - Relationship with Dealers in Securities under Section 32 of the Banking Act of 1933

Restrict employment relations between securities dealers and member banks to avoid conflict of interest, collusion, or undue influence on member bank investment policies or advice to customers.
Regulation S - Reimbursement to Financial Institutions for Assembling or Providing Financial Records

Establishes rates and conditions for reimbursement to financial institutions for providing customer records to a government authority.
Regulation T - Credit by Brokers and Dealers

Governs extension of credit by securities brokers and dealers, including all members of national securities exchanges. See Also regulations G, U, and X.
Regulation U - Credit by Banks for Purchasing or Carrying Margin Stocks

Governs extension of credit by banks to finance the purchase or the carrying of margin securities. See also regulations G, T, and X.
Regulation V - Loan Guarantees for Defense Production (Dorman)

Federal Reserve regulation dealing with financing of contractors, subcontractors and others involved in national defense work. The requlation spells out the authority granted to reserve banks under the Defense Production Act of 1950, to assist federal departments and agencies in making and administering loan guarantees to defense-related contractors, and sets maximum interest rates, guaranty fees and commitment fees.
Regulation X - Borrowers of Securities Credit

Extends to borrowers who are subject to U.S. laws the provisions of regulations G, T, and U for obtaining credit within or outside the United States for the purpose of purchasing securities. See also regulations G, T, and U.
Regulation Y - Bank Holding Companies and Change in Bank Control

Governs the bank and nonbank expansion of bank holding companies, the divestiture of impermissible nonblank interests, and the acquisition of a bank by individuals.
Regulation Z - Truth in Lending

Prescribes uniform methods for computing the cost of credit, for disclosing credit terms, and for resolving errors on certain types of credit accounts.
REIT

See Real Estate Investment Trust.
Remote Payment

A payment carried out through the sending of payment orders or payment instruments.
Renegotiable Rate Mortgage RMM

A type of variable rate involving a renewable short-term "balloon" note. The interest rate on the loan is generally fixed during the term of the note, but when the balloon comes due, the lender may refinance it at a higher rate. In order for the loan to be fully amortized, periodic refinancing may be necessary.
Rent Supplement

Payments to owners of private housing by a government agency which supports low-income tenants. The owner receives the difference between a share of the tenant's monthly income (usually 30 percent) and an amount established by the agency to be a fair market rent. Supplements can either be project-based or tenant-based. Project-based supplements stay in effect as long as qualified tenants occupy designated units; tenant-based supplements are given to qualified individuals and apply to a unit as long as that individual resides there.
Report of Condition and Income

Financial report that all banks, bank holding companies, savings and loan associations, Edge Act and agreement corporations, and certain other types or organizations must file with a federal regulatory agency. Informally termed a Call Report.
Repurchase Agreements

When the Federal Reserve makes a repurchase agreement with a government securities dealer, it buys a security for immediate delivery with an agreement to sell the security back at the same price by a specific date (usually within 15 days) and receives interest at a specific rate. This arrangement allows the Federal Reserve to inject reserves into the banking system on a temporary basis to meet a temporary need and to withdraw these reserves as soon as that need has passed.
Reserve Requirements

Reserves that must be held against customer deposits of banks and other depository institutions. The reserve requirement ratio affects the expansion of deposits that can be supported by each additional dollar of reserves. The Board of Governors sets reserve requirements within limits specified by law for all depository institutions (including commercial banks, savings banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, some industrial loan banks, and US agencies and branches of foreign banks) that have transaction accounts or nonpersonal time deposits. A lower reserve requirement allows more deposit and loan expansion and a higher reserve ratio permits less expansion.
Reserves

Funds set aside by depository institutions to meet reserve requirements. For member banks, reserve requirements are satisfied with holdings of vault cash and/or balances at the Federal Reserve Banks. Depository institutions that are not members of the Federal Reserve System may hold their reserves in the same manner, or they may pass the reserve balances through a correspondent institution to the Federal Reserve Banks.
Resolution Trust Company RTC

A federal agency created by the Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (commonly known as FIRREA) to oversee the liquidation of assets of insolvent savings and loan association.
Retail Banking

Banking services offered to consumers and small businesses. The "full-service" commercial bank offers both retail and "wholesale" banking services, dealing with both consumers and business of all sizes.
Revolving Loan Fund RLF

In general, a fund structured so that repayments are used to make more loans. The term RLF is also used interchangeably with Community Development Loan Fund. The term is also used specifically to describe a non-profit loan fund, which depends primarily on public money to make housing and small business loans. In this instance, an RLF is distinct from a CDLF in that the RLF focuses on larger scale development; that is, the loans are generally larger and focus on less risky enterprises than a CDLF is willing to finance. Terms and rates are typically more favorable than conventional financing. An RLF can be administered by a non-profit organization or a public agency and is not overseen by any regulatory agency.
Right of First Refusal

A right given to non-profits that allows them to purchase a property before it goes up for sale to the general public.
Rotating Savings and Credit Association RoSCA

An informal financial institution composed of a group of individuals who make regular cyclical contributions to a common fund, which is then returned to members in rotation.
Run on a Bank

Occurs when many of those who have claims on a bank (deposits) present them at the same time.
Rural Economic and Community Development

(formerly Farmers Home Administration, FmHA)
An agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that makes loans, grants, and loan gurantees in rural areas for housing, farming, business, industry, and community facilities. 

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S
Saving Bank

Depository institution historically engaged primarily in accepting consumer savings deposits and in originating and investing in securities and residential mortgage loans; now may offer checking-types and make a wider range of loans.
Saving Bond

A security issued by the U.S. Treasury Department. This bond is nonnegotiable and is bought from, or sold back to, the federal government at a set price. Its principal attraction is its relative lack of risk from price changes, because it is not subject to market fluctuations.
Savings and Loan Associations

A state or federally chartered financial institution that accepts savings and checkable deposits from public and invests them primarily in mortgage loans. A savings and loan association may be either a mutual or capital stock institution and may also make loans to businesses and consumers.
Section 8

A program of the Department of Housing and Urban Development that provides rental assistance to low- and very low-income families. HUD pays the difference between the market rent of a unit and the amount that the tenant is able to pay.
Secure Electronic Transaction SET

A protocol jointly developed by Visa, MasterCard, and several technology companies to facilitate secure credit card transactions over the Internet. SET uses public-key cryptography and requires merchants and consumers to have authentication keys to conduct on-line transactions. The purpose is to secure transactions over open networks such as the Internet
Securities

Paper certificates (definitive securities) or electronic records (book-entry securities) evidencing ownership of equity (stocks) or debt-obligations (bonds). See also Definitive Securities, Book-entry Securities, Stock, Bonds.
Securities and Exchange Commission SEC

An independent agency of the U.S. government consisting of five members appointed by the President that administers comprehensive legislation governing the securities industry.
Securitization

The process of gathering group of debt obligations such as mortgages into a pool, and then dividing that pool into portions that can be sold as securities in the secondary market.
Security Interest

The creditor's right to take property or a portion of property offered as security.
Seller's Points

A lump sum paid by the seller to the buyer's creditor to reduce the cost of the loan to the buyer. This payment is either required by the creditor or volunteered by the seller, usually in a loan to buy real estate. Generally, one point equals one percent of the loan amount.
Service Charge

A component of some finance charges, such as the fee for triggering an overdraft checking account into use.
Signature Loan

Unsecured loan backed only by the borrower's signature on an promissory note. No collateral is taken by the lender. These generally are loans to individual with good credit standing who are known by the lending officer. Also known as a good faith loan or character loan. See also Promissory note.
Small Business Administration

An independent federal agency that assists and advocates for small businesses. The SBA offers a variety of loans and other types of financial assistance. The majority of business loans are in the form of partial guarantees on loans made by private lenders. The SBA offers special programs for women, minorities, the handicapped, veterans, and very small businesses.
Small Business Development Center SBDC

Provides management and technical assistance to small business owners. SBDCs are part of an SBA-established program. They are generally located in academic institutions and are structured as a joint-venture among the institution, state and local governments, and the SBA. SBDCs make special efforts to assist minorities, women, the handicapped, and veterans.
Small Saver Certificate

A certificate of deposit with a minimum maturity of 2 1/2 years offered by banks and thrift institutions to individuals. The interest rate on these certificates is related to the average yield on 2 1/2-year Treasury securities, in accordance with regulations issued by the Depository Institutions Deregulation Committee. There is no minimum denomination required on these certificates.
Smart Card

A small, usually plastic, card with a microprocessor (or IC) chip embedded on it. It is therefore "smart", in that it can compute (process) and store financial, health, educational, and security information. In contrast, the magnetic stripe on credit cards and debit cards enables consumers to store a limited amount of information, or "stored value", on these cards, but these are unable to process it
Smart Card Readers

POS terminals that have been deployed to read smart cards. Often used at locations where there is a small transaction value, such as pay phones, fast-food restaurants or newspaper boxes - where consumers can transfer value retained in a smart card to pay for goods.
Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunicating SWIFT

A message writing system that connects worldwide participating banks primarily for the purpose of communicating payment information. Frequently, the SWIFT message is only part of an international payment process which might also employ a system such as CHIPS to fully implement the transaction.
Soft Second Mortgage

A second mortgage that uses reduced interest rates and flexible repayment terms to minimize the debt of the borrower and reduce the risk to the primary lender. Soft seconds are typically provided through government programs to both housing and business development projects. Housing programs primarily target lower-income households. Business programs usually attach job creation criteria that may also benefit lower-income persons or neighborhoods.
Special Drawing Rights SDRs

A type of international money created by the IMF and allocated to its member nations. SDRs are an international reserve asset, although they are only accounting entries (not actual coin or paper, and not backed by precious metal). Subject to certain conditions of the IMF, a nation that has a balance of payments deficit can use SDRs to settle debts to another nation or to the IMF.
Specialized Small Business Investment Corporation SSBIC

(formerly Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Corporation)
Also known as a 301(d) SBIC. A venture capital firm licensed and regulated by the Small Business Administration that provides debt and equity financing to small businesses that are at least 50 percent owned and operated by socially or economically disadvantaged persons. The SBA guarantees the debt portion of SSBIC investments, allowing them to leverage private capital.
Stagflation

An economic term used to describe the unusual situation of an economy that is experiencing severe inflation and unemployment simultaneously.
Stakeholders

Any party, such as stockholders, bondholders, other creditors, managers, and employees, who benefits from the success of the company.
Sticky Prices

Prices that do not always adjust rapidly to maintain equality between quantity supplied and quantity demand.
Stock

It is a certificate evidencing ownership in a corporate enterprise. The stock of a corporation is usually divided into two classes, common and preffered. The former represents the basic ownership; its holders' claims to income and assets are subordinate to the claims of bondholders, creditors,