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What is the Federal Discount Rate?

The Federal Discount Rate is the interest rate that the Federal Reserve charges banks for borrowing money. This is usually done overnight to satisfy reserve requirements on short notice. It is different than the Federal Funds Rate, which is the rate that banks charge each other. The 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks determine their Federal Discount Rate in board meetings every 14 days. It is the interest that will be charged to member banks to borrow directly from the Fed, which they do at times in order to make sure they have enough capital reserves to satisfy regulations. Continue reading...

What is the Discount Rate?

The Discount Rate can actually have multiple meanings, but the most prevalent one is in regards to the minimum interest rate the Federal Reserve will charge for lending to commercial banks. The Federal Reserve sets the discount rate in an effort to discourage or encourage commercial banks to borrow, depending on the economic conditions. The discount rate also refers to the rate used to calculate the present value of future cash flows, as part of Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) analysis. Continue reading...

What is Federal Reserve Credit?

The Federal Reserve extends credit in the form of short-term loans to member banks. Banks avoid taking loans from the Fed if they can, because it is viewed as a sign of instability. The Federal Discount Rate applies to loans taken from what is known as the discount window at the Fed, and it tends to be a higher rate than what is charged between two banks. The Federal Reserve will extend credit only to banking institutions that are members of the Federal Reserve system. Continue reading...

What is Future Value?

Future Value is the hypothetical value of an investment at a specific date in the future. The future value (FV) of an investment or business is a calculation used in several types of planning and accounting. In a Time Value of Money (TVM) calculation, the Future Value is often the starting point, and the interest rate that will be earned in the meantime is called Discount Rate, and is discounted by the number of years of periods back to the present time. This allows investors to see the Present Value (PV), which is a lesser, discounted amount from the future value, and gives us the premise for the Time Value of Money, which is that “a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow.” Continue reading...

What is the Federal Reserve Bank?

The Federal Reserve banking system was created in 1913, the same year that income taxes were added to the US Constitution. 12 regional Fed banks were established, each of which plays a role in monitoring and implementing interventions to the flow of money in the economy. The Federal Reserve Bank is a 12-bank system in the United States that plays the role of the country’s central bank. Central banks in other countries are typically part of the government and print the actual currency, but in this case the Fed is independent of the actual US government, and the Treasury Department technically prints the money. Continue reading...

What is the Federal Funds Rate?

The federal funds rate is the overnight rate at which commercial lenders lend excess reserves to other institutions, on an un-collateralized basis. This term is unique to the United States, though other central banks around the world also have an overnight rate. The federal funds rate is a closely watched and crucial rate for determining how easy capital is to access. The lower the fed funds rate, the more accessible the Federal Reserve is trying to make cash - to inspire banks to borrow and lend. The opposite is also true, where the Fed may raise the fed funds rate if an economy is overheating or lending needs to be curbed. Continue reading...

What is present value?

What is present value?

The price in today's dollars for an asset which will appreciate or depreciate to an amount which may be known at a specific date in the future. One simple example of Present Value is the amount that needs to be invested in order to grow to a specific amount later, if the rate of return and length of time are known. So if someone wanted to have $50,000 to buy a boat in 5 years, and they could get 5% on a guaranteed investment, they would need a lump sum investment of about $39,000 to get them there. Continue reading...

What is Discounted Cash Flow?

Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) uses an estimated future cash flow amount and a Discount Rate to determine the Present Value (PV). An investor or business executive might project an estimated future cash flow for a business based on recent growth rates, industry information, futurism, estimated inflation, etc. The most common future cash flow to use is free cash flow, which takes out capital expenditures. Continue reading...

What is Time Value of Money?

The Time Value of Money is a theme for discourse and calculations related to the effect of interest on money over time, and the interrelation between Present Value and Future Value. The Time in the equation of Rate of Return x Time x Present Value = Future Value has a value and an effect on the Future Value (or the Present Value depending on what you're solving for). The Time Value of Money is, at it's simplest, something which nearly everyone has seen but hasn't heard called by that name: turn this amount of money into that amount of money by letting it grow in the market for a length of time. Continue reading...

What is a Discount Broker?

What is a Discount Broker?

Discount Broker is a financial organization that places trades at a discount to a full service broker, and also often will serve as a custodian for assets. With the onset of online trading platforms, the discount brokerage industry has seen plenty of growth over the last few years. In many cases, however, a discount broker will not offer any investment advice - hence the discounted price for trading services. An investor that wants a lot of personalized service should probably consider a full service broker over a discount broker, since a discount broker literally only focuses on trade execution and will not provide additional services, like research and advice. Continue reading...

What is the Federal Reserve System?

What is the Federal Reserve System?

The Federal Reserve System was established by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, which created a network of reserve banks that could help to prevent economic meltdowns by serving as a regulator and a source of funds. There are 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks which monitor banks in their jurisdiction and make loans when necessary. The Federal Reserve System is sometimes referred to as one bank, but it is in fact a network of 12 banks with 24 branches, overseen by a Board with members nominated by the US Government. Continue reading...

What is Par Value?

Par value is the nominal value of a security (such as a stock or a bond) that is typically indicated on the certificate of ownership. Par value is most often associated with bonds, and refers to the amount that will be returned to the investor at the bond’s maturity. Par value of bonds is generally $100 or $1,000. Bonds traded on the open market are not generally bought and sold at par value, as they typically trade at a premium or a discount to par. Bond prices are influenced by interest rates, and have an inverse relationship with them. Continue reading...

What is Mortgage Par Rate?

Lenders have a different par rate for different types of borrowers, which is the base around which they have the ability to negotiate deals. The par rate will be based on the prevailing interest rate environment, with factors changing it slightly for different potential borrowers and the risk associated with them based on creditworthiness. Par rate is the fair market value of a loan for a person with certain risk characteristics, from a lending institution of certain size and qualities. The par rate is the reference point around which a borrower and a lender will strike a deal, even though this is often unknown to the borrower. If the lender, which might be a bank loan officer or a mortgage broker, gives the borrower a break on the front-end cost of the loan, the borrower might have some interest tacked on to the par rate to make up for it. Continue reading...

What is the Dividend Discount Model?

The Dividend Discount Model (DDM) is a method for valuing a stock, that looks at expected future dividend payouts and adjusts to present value. If the calculated value is less than the current trading price, the security is thought to be undervalued. The DDM is helpful as a tool but should not solely be used in valuation calculations. Perhaps its biggest flaw is that future dividends have to be projected and assumed, which is a far-from-certain practice. Continue reading...

What is Cash and Cash Equivalents?

Cash and cash equivalents are negotiable instruments which have a stable value and are highly liquid. Cash and Cash Equivalents is a phrase used often in the financial world. Generally money market accounts are the most used cash equivalent. They are invested in currency, and their goal is to preserve the value of the the investor’s dollars. Money market accounts are basically completely liquid, and investors can even write checks and make ATM withdrawals from their money market accounts. Continue reading...

What is Monetary Policy?

Monetary policy is the stance of the central bank at any given time regarding the tightening or loosening of rates, or the issuance of new currency denominations, that will affect the money supply in the country. Monetary policy is the prerogative of the central bank but may be influenced by congress as well as private banking institutions and the central banks of other countries. The goal of monetary policy is to keep the Federal Funds Rate or the LIBOR, or whatever it might be depending on the country, at just the right level to keep the economy going in the direction that will be most helpful. Continue reading...

What is Bankruptcy Court?

Bankruptcy court is a special judicial proceeding which determines how a debtor can settle accounts and move on. Bankruptcy courts are always federal, and not state, courts. They were established in the Constitution and given structure by the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978. They give debtors a means of moving beyond debts that cannot be fully repaid. There are several kinds of bankruptcy filings (found here — ‘chapter 7-15’, some for individuals, some for businesses, some involving foreign entities or persons operating in the US. Some are for absolution and the dissolution of a business entity, and other filings are requests for partial debt forgiveness and reorganization of the entity. Continue reading...

What is the Interbank Rate?

What is the Interbank Rate?

The interbank rate is the average lending rate used between banks of comparable size and creditworthiness when they borrow money from each other. The Federal Funds Rate is the benchmark in America, while LIBOR (the London Interbank Offered Rate) is more prevalent elsewhere. These are indexes which are used to determine rates and terms for other financial instruments and swaps. The Prime Rate, or the rate banks will used for their most credit-worthy customers, is tied to the interbank rate but is slightly higher of course. In America the Federal Funds Rate is so called because the Central bank participates in the lending. This is sometimes called the overnight rate when it refers to money that is lent between banks overnight. Continue reading...

What is a REPO?

What is a REPO?

REPO is shorthand for Repurchase Agreement. It is a money-market practice where two entities agree to buy/sell government securities overnight and reverse the transaction the next day for the sake of providing the selling entity with short-term cash. Repurchase Agreements provide the selling party with short term liquidity, and are considered a money-market instrument. A third party usually acts as a clearing agent. Continue reading...

What is the Prime Rate

The prime rate is the lowest interest rate that banks will charge on loans at a given time, based on the Federal Funds Rate. Individual banks set their own prime rate, which they may also call their "Reference Rate" or "Base Lending Rate." It is the least they will charge for a loan at a given time, based on the creditworthiness of the customer, and the only clients whose risk of default is low enough to approach the prime rate are very large commercial clients. Continue reading...