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A Guide to Financial Institutions by Charles R. Geisst (auth.)

By Charles R. Geisst (auth.)

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The function of the discount houses is to provide liquidity to the UK banking system by discounting short-term obligations, usually Treasury bills, for those institutions in need of funds. They stand between their client and the Bank of England so they become the focal point of monetary policy. An institution in need of funds sells bills to the discount house, which takes a small spread for the function it performs. In such a manner, they supply funds to banks in need by selling the bills to those with surplus cash.

This will be discussed in another section below because the amount of credit available in an economy at any point in time has a profound impact upon economic activity. The same is true of another phenomenon found in this simple deposit taking/lending process that is solely the preserve Commercial Banking 25 of commercial banks - namely the ability to create money as well as credit. Money creation can be accomplished by no other single financial institution; it is currently solely in the realm of commercial banking.

So unlike some countries where economic policies are centralised, the Fed actually operates independently, both operationally and ideologically, from the fiscal policy-making side of government. Until recently, the Fed controlled only those banks having a federal charter. However, according to the provisions of the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980, all banks and depository institutions in the United 36 A Guide to Financial Institutions States became subject to the Fed's reserve requirements.

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