The Federal Reserve has introduced a number of new tools for conducting monetary policy and dealing with the financial crisis. These tools have become more important with the federal funds rate close to zero. Chairman Ben Bernanke divides the tools into three groups:Here's the Policy Tools page.
The new tools make use of the Fed's balance sheet, particularly the asset side, and involve ways of extending credit and purchasing securities. These actions can change both the absolute level of the balance sheet as well as the types of assets it contains. Bernanke has called the use of the balance sheet in this way "credit easing."
- Lending to financial institutions
- Providing liquidity to key credit markets
- Purchasing longer-term securities
The charts on this site let you see the assets of the balance sheet in a number of ways. Explore them by using the navigation bar on the left.
This page shows the balance sheet with the individual tools grouped into the three types of new credit-easing tools, plus the base of traditional Fed assets.
For an overview of the new tools, see this article.