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March, Friday


Economic Terms

Securities and Exchange Commission - SEC
An independent, non-partisan, quasi-judicial regulatory agency with responsibility for administering the federal securities laws. The purpose of these laws is to protect investors and to ensure that investors have access to disclosure of all material information concerning publicly traded securities. The Commission also regulates firms engaged in the purchase or sale of securities, people who provide investment advice, and investment companies.
Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial
A message writing system that connects worldwide participating banks, primarily for the purpose of communicating payment information. Frequently, the SWIFT message is only part of an international payment.
savings and loan association - S&L
Historically, a depository institution that accepted deposits mainly from individuals and invested heavily in residential mortgage loans. Although still primarily residential lenders, S&Ls may now offer checking-type deposits and make a wider range of loans.
savings bank
Depository institution historically engaged primarily in accepting consumer savings deposits and in originating and investing in securities and residential mortgage loans; now may offer checking-type deposits and make a wider range of loans.
Paper certificates (definitive securities) or electronic records (book-entry securities) evidencing ownership of equity (stocks) or debt obligations (bonds).
security interest
The property or a portion of property offered as security.
The profit which results from the difference between the cost of making coins and currency and the exchange value of coin and currency in the market.
self-regulatory organizations - SRO
Nongovernment organizations that have statutory responsibility to regulate their own members such as the New York Stock Exchange and National Association Of Securities Dealers
seller's points
In reference to a loan, seller's points consist of a lump sum paid by the seller to the buyer's creditor to reduce the cost of the loan to the buyer. This payment is either required by the creditor or volunteered by the seller, usually in a loan to buy real estate. Generally, one point equals one percent of the loan amount. See also points.
short-term interest rates
Interest rates on loan contracts--or debt instruments such as Treasury bills, bank certificates of deposit, or commercial paper--having maturities of less than one year. Often called money market rates.
small saver certificate
A certificate of deposit, with a minimum maturity of 2-1/2 years, offered by banks and thrift institutions to individuals. The interest rate on these certificates is related to the average yield on 2-1/2 year Treasury securities, in accordance with regulations issued by the Depository Institutions Deregulation Committee. There is no minimum denomination required on these certificates.
special drawing rights - SDR
A type of international money created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and allocated to its member nations. SDRs are an international reserve asset, although they are only accounting entries (not actual coin or paper, and not backed by precious metal). Subject to certain conditions of the IMF, a nation that has a balance of payments deficit can use SDRs to settle debts to another nation or to the IMF.
spot transaction
A foreign exchange transaction in which each party promises to pay a certain amount of currency to the other on the same day or within one or two days.
state member bank
A bank that is chartered by a state and has elected to join the Federal Reserve System.
street name
Securities held in the name of brokers, or banks, or their nominees, instead of in the customer's name.
structural unemployment
Long-term joblessness caused by shifts in the economy. Often structural unemployment occurs because of changes in technology.
An extra charge imposed on those who purchase with a credit card instead of cash. (Currently, surcharges for credit card purchases are prohibited.)
An arrangement between the central banks of two countries for standby credit to facilitate the exchange of each other's currencies
swap arrangements
Short-term reciprocal lines of credit between the Federal Reserve and 14 foreign central banks as well as the Bank for International Settlements. Through a swap transaction, the Federal Reserve can, in effect, borrow foreign currency in order to purchase dollars in the foreign exchange market. In doing so, the demand for dollars and the dollar's foreign exchange value are increased. Similarly, the Federal Reserve can temporarily provide dollars to foreign central banks through swap arrangements.

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