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The Fed's Regional Structure

The map below highlights the 12 Reserve Banks. Note that each Bank is identified with the corresponding letter and its District number.

Click each District to learn more about it.

1A 2B 3C 5E 4D 7G 8H 6F 11K 10J 9I 12L

You may notice that the size of the districts seems slightly out of proportion — the districts in the Northeast tend to be very small, while those in the West are very large. This size discrepancy relates to the population distribution in 1913 — the population was heavily concentrated along the east coast of the country. The Federal Reserve System has adapted to changing population patterns by using a system of branch offices. For example, the Twelfth District is very large geographically and includes Hawaii and Alaska, the largest state in the Union. Therefore, this district has four branches, in addition to the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco. Find your Reserve Bank here.

The Federal Reserve Banks and Currency

Did you know that Federal Reserve Banks place the currency you use to make purchases into circulation? Each bill has a number and a letter that denote the Federal Reserve Bank that is accounting for that bill. For example, a bill with the number 8 will have the letter H (the eighth letter), which means it appears on the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

For the recently redesigned $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills, the letter and number that identify the Federal Reserve Bank are beneath the left serial number on the face of the bill.

To learn more about currency click here.

Which Federal Reserve Bank is accounting for this bill?


A. St. Louis

B. San Francisco

C. Atlanta

D. New York

Question: Who owns the Reserve Banks?

The Federal Reserve Banks are not a part of the federal government, but they exist because of an act of Congress, and their purpose is to serve the public. So is the Fed private or public?

The answer is both. While the Board of Governors is an independent government agency, the Federal Reserve Banks are set up like private corporations. Member banks hold stock in the Federal Reserve Banks and earn dividends. Holding this stock does not carry with it the control and financial interest given to holders of common stock in for-profit organizations. The stock may not be sold or pledged as collateral for loans. Member banks also appoint six of the nine members of the board of directors of each Bank.