The United States’ central bank. The Federal Reserve System consists of a series of 12 independent banks that operate under the supervision of a seven-member, federally appointed board of governors. The Fed strives to maintain maximum employment, stable price levels, and moderate long-term interest rates. It establishes and enforces the regulations banks, savings and loans, and credit unions must follow. It also acts as a clearing house for certain financial transactions and provides banking services to the federal government.