Federal Reserve System
The Federal Reserve (also known as The Fed) is a central banking system that controls the monetary system of the United States. Although it acts with the authority of the government, the Federal Reserve is not an official government agency. It was established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. Although the Constitution says that only Congress has the authority to print money, the Federal Reserve issues currency that is not based on the original gold standard. The Federal Reserve is headed by a Board of Governors and a Chairman. The current Chairman is Ben Bernanke, his predecessor was Alan Greenspan.
The main job of the Federal Reserve is to control inflation by regulating the free market. One of its main functions is to set the amount of money that banks must keep in reserve and to set the interest rates for money it lends to banks.