The ignorance of coin, credit, and circulation is unfortunately, a widespread occurrence – causing perplexities, confusion in the financial markets. Is it the fault of the common man that he cannot understand the complexities of a monetary system that moved Lord Keynes to say that not one man in a million understands money?
What is meant by fractional reserves? It would seem that reserves are reduced to a fraction, but a fraction of what? Perhaps we should seek the wise counsel of the Federal Reserve, as this is their raison d’etre.
Required reserve balances are balances that a depository institution must hold with the Federal Reserve to satisfy its reserve requirement. Reserve requirements are imposed on all depository institutions – which include commercial banks.
Where The Money Comes From ?
Trillions of dollars are said to be everywhere.. Today billions of dollars are tossed around from computer to computer without the blink of an eye. Trillions are now the topic de jour.
Budgets, deficits, and international money flows are all described using trillions or parts thereof.
On that fateful day when Federal Reserve Notes were first issued, it is obvious that a huge number of dollar bills had to be printed. Now, the printing press is pretty much obsolete; the only money that actually gets printed is used to replace old and worn Federal Reserve notes already in circulation. In vogue today is electronic money – fast food style.
The process actually begins with the Treasury Department printing a piece of paper called a bond, which is done electronically. Treasury bonds are debt obligations (liability) of the government to repay a loan - with interest.
The Treasury sells bonds to the public. The bonds the public does not buy, the Treasury deposits with the Federal Reserve. When the Fed accepts the bond from the Treasury, it lists the bond on its books as an asset.
The Fed assumes the government will make good on its promise to pay back the loan. This is based on the belief that the government’s power to tax the people is sufficient collateral.
Because the Fed now has an asset that it didn't have before receiving the Treasury bond, the Fed can now create a liability that is offset by its new asset.
The liability that the Fed creates is a Federal Reserve check. It gives the Treasury the check in payment for the Treasury bond.
THERE IS NO EXISTING MONEY IN THE FED'S ACCOUNT TO COVER THIS CHECK.
The Federal Reserve check is endorsed by the Treasury and is deposited in one of the government's accounts at the Federal Reserve. The government can use the deposits to write checks against, to pay for government expenses.
This is the first new money flow to enter the system. Various government contractors, vendors, etc. receive these checks as payment for services rendered, and they take the checks and deposit them in their commercial banks.
The Second Step
The deposits in the commercial banks take on a sort of split personality.
On the one hand, the deposits are the bank’s liabilities, as they owe the total sums to their depositors.
However, because of FRACTIONAL RESERVE lending, the bankers get to lend out 9 times what they have on deposit.
The commercial banks get to list the deposits as RESERVES.
In other words, FRACTIONAL RESERVE lending allows the commercial banks to create 9 times more money then they have on reserve. The banks lend money they don’t have, and:
They get to charge interest on it.
As the newly issued money is put to work by borrowers, they then spend it and the receiver then deposits it in their bank account, and the bank starts the reserve lending policy all over again. This is why the Money supply must expand by the amount of interest owed on the debt.
If it didn't, the debt would not be able to be serviced. There is no money created without creating debt, they are one and the same. Wealth is not created by creating money by fiat – only debt. As the Fed has admitted:
"Commercial banks create checkbook money whenever they grant a loan, simply by adding new deposit dollars in accounts on their books in exchange for a borrower's IOU."
Fractional reserve lending invokes the moral hazard of fidelity of contract. Banks have on deposit (reserve) at most 10% of the “money supply.”
This means that if more than 10% of depositors go to the bank at one time to withdraw “our” money – there isn’t any money to withdraw beyond the 10% reserves.
Which means that 90% of the money supply is non-existent, nothing more than a fleeting illusion.