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US bank rates

This page looks at sources for current and historic US bank rates, including the discount rate, prime rate and federal funds rate.

What's on this page?

  • Federal funds rate
  • Prime rate
  • Discount rate

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Federal funds rate

The federal funds rate is the interest rate at which depository institutions (such as banks) actively trade balances held at the Federal Reserve with each other. The rate fluctuates in response to supply and demand in the market for federal reserve balances. The Federal Reserve Board describes the rate as an important benchmark in the financial markets.

Prime rate

The Federal Reserve Board describes the prime rate as 'an interest rate determined by individual banks. It is often used as a reference rate (also called the base rate) for many types of loans, including loans to small businesses and credit card loans.' The rates are set by individual banks, often taking into account the target level of the federal funds rate.

Discount rate

The Federal Reserve Board provides this definition of the discount rate: 'Officially the primary credit rate, it is the interest rate at which an eligible depository institution may borrow funds, typically for a short period, directly from a Federal Reserve Bank'.
More detailed explanation of the discount rate can be found on The Discount Rate page on the Federal Reserve Board website and in Chapter 3 of The Federal Reserve System: Purposes and Functions

Sources for historic rates

Federal Reserve Statistical Releases

The Federal Reserve provides a historic table of Selected Interest Rates (H.15) which includes the Federal funds (effective) rate. The rate given in the daily series is a ‘weighted average of rates on brokered trades’. The coverage of the archive varies for the different frequencies:

  • Business day (1 July 1954 to date)
  • Daily (1 July 1954 to date)
  • Weekly (7 July 1954 to date)
  • Bi-weekly (14 July 1954 to date)
  • Monthly (July 1954 to date)
  • Annual (1955 to date)

Financial Times

The Financial Times publishes a daily table headed 'Interest Rates - Official' with a selection of European and US rates, including the US Fed Funds rate.

An online archive of the Official Interest Rates table from 22 December 2007 to date can be found on the Financial Times Market Data pages (subscription required - choose the drop down menu category for ‘Bonds & Rates’ and select the report option ‘Official Interest Rates’).
The Library & Information Service also holds a run of the Financial Times on microfilm prior to this date.

Note: The Library currently does not have access to its microfilm collection. This is a temporary change and we hope to have access restored as soon as is viable. We apologise for any inconvenience.

International Financial Statistics

Figures for the federal funds rate are published in the International Monetary Fund publication 'International Financial Statistics' which is published monthly. This provides 9 months statistics for the discount rate (end of period).

The ICAEW Library & Information Service holds the January 'International Financial Statistics' for January 2007 until December 2012 (with monthly figures for the discount rate from March 2006 to October 2011, supplemented by quarterly figures back to Quarter 4 2004).
The Guildhall and City Business Libraries, located in the City of London near the ICAEW Library, hold a 20 year file of this publication (with some gaps).

International Financial Statistics Yearbook

The yearbook provides annual figures for the federal funds rate. The ICAEW Library & Information Service holds copies of the 'International Financial Statistics Yearbook' from 1998 to 2012 (providing annual figures for the federal funds rate for 1968 to 2011).

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