What Is a Reserve Requirement?

What Is a Reserve Requirement?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

A reserve requirement is a rule set by central banks such as the Federal Reserve in the US which states that banks have to hold a certain amount of financial resources; this is usually a percentage of certain types of deposits at the bank. This reserve is not used for daily operations, rather it’s kept to meet any immediate liabilities and ensure the bank’s monetary stability. The primary aim is to prevent banks from running out of cash to meet withdrawal requests.

Related Questions

1. What is the purpose of a reserve requirement?

The purpose of a reserve requirement is to ensure that a bank has enough cash on hand to fulfill a certain amount of its deposit liabilities. It keeps the bank’s financial health in check, reduces the risk of a bank run, and helps maintain confidence in the banking system.

2. Who determines the reserve requirement?

Want More Financial Tips?

Get Our Best Stuff First (for FREE)
We respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe anytime.

The reserve requirement is determined by the nation’s central bank. For example, in the United States, the Federal Reserve sets the reserve requirement.

3. Can the reserve requirement change?

Yes, the central bank can adjust the reserve requirement as a means of implementing monetary policy. If the economy is heating up, the central bank may raise the reserve requirement to reduce lending and cool down the economy. Conversely, in a sluggish economy, the central bank may lower the reserve requirement to stimulate lending and economic activity.

4. What happens if a bank fails to meet the reserve requirement?

If a bank fails to meet its reserve requirement, it can borrow the shortfall from the central bank or from another bank. However, the central bank often charges interest on these loans, so consistent failure to meet the requirement can be financially detrimental for a bank.

5. What is the difference between reserve requirement and capital requirement?

While a reserve requirement refers to the amount of cash a bank must have on hand each day, a capital requirement is the amount of capital a bank is required to hold as a buffer against financial losses. The capital can usually be in various forms of assets, not just cash.