On December 23, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Owen-Glass Act, creating the Federal Reserve System.
The first major banking reform to follow the Civil War, the Federal Reserve was organized to regulate banking and provide the nation with a more stable and secure financial and monetary system. It remains the central banking authority of the United States, establishing banking policies, interest rates, and the availability of credit. It also acts as the government's fiscal agent and regulates the supply of currency.
Expanded since its founding, in both size and function, the Federal Reserve consists of a board of governors, nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, twelve regional Federal Reserve banks, the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Advisory Council, a Consumer Advisory Council, and several thousand member banks.
Before the Federal Reserve opened its twelve regional banks and began monitoring banking in November 1914, America's banks functioned in widely divergent ways. These varied banking practices had driven the nation to four major financial crises in less than forty years.