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Adjustment Credit

Adjustment Credit

What Is an Adjustment Credit?

The term adjustment credit alludes to a short-term loan extended by a Federal Reserve Bank to a more modest commercial bank when it needs to keep up with its reserve requirements and support short-term lending. Adjustment credits are a common form of borrowing between commercial banks and Federal Reserve Banks. A commercial bank secures an adjustment credit with a promissory note, frequently utilizing them when interest rates are high, and the money supply is short.

How Adjustment Credits Work

A commercial bank must keep up with reserve requirements as set by the Federal Reserve's board of governors. Reserve requirements are viewed as one of the three primary devices of monetary policy, alongside open market operations and the discount rate. Open market operations are the purchasing and selling of securities in the open market to extend or contract the amount of money in the banking system and assist with controlling inflation. The discount rate is the interest rate charged to commercial banks for loans taken from the Federal Reserve Bank. It additionally influences the money supply and inflation.

A commercial bank's reserve amount โ€” held either in its own vaults or with the nearest Federal Reserve Bank โ€” mirrors the total amount of deposits held for the benefit of its customers. The reserve requirement guarantees customers that their money will continuously be accessible upon request. Reserves safeguard banks in the event that customers choose to make large withdrawals as a group.

Reserve requirements safeguard banks assuming that customers choose to make large withdrawals at the same time.

When a bank's reserves are low, they can go to the Federal Reserve to compensate for any shortfall through an adjustment credit. An adjustment credit is a type of short-term loan that allows a bank to keep lending to its customers. A commercial bank secures this loan by utilizing a promissory note โ€” a financial instrument that subtleties a written commitment by the issuer to pay the lender an unmistakable sum of money. So by utilizing the note, the bank vows to repay the Federal Reserve Bank the amount of money it borrows. Payment can be indicated either on-request or at a set future date, and regularly contains every one of the terms relating to the indebtedness, for example, the principal amount, interest rate, maturity date and place of issuance, and issuer's signature.

As noted above, commercial banks frequently use adjustment credits when interest rates are high and the money supply is short. Higher interest rates require larger payouts on customer deposits, while a short supply of money requires extra float to sustain bank operations. Adjustment credits are regularly allowed for extremely short periods of time โ€” normally overnight. Interest rates for adjustment credits, set by the Fed, are regularly lower than the federal funds rate โ€” the rate commercial banks loan to each other.

Special Considerations

An adjustment credit is just one of the options accessible to commercial banks under the Federal Reserve's Regulation A, which gives guidance and rules about how institutions can borrow from the Fed's discount window. The other two options are:

  • Extended credit: This option is accessible when a bank can't secure a loan from another source, like another bank. Extended credits are allowed for longer periods of time than adjustment credits.
  • Seasonal credit: This type of credit is conceded to more modest institutions that have a greater need at certain periods of season.


  • An adjustment credit is regularly extended for an extremely short period of time โ€” normally overnight โ€” and at an interest rate lower than the federal funds rate.
  • An adjustment credit is a short-term loan extended by a Federal Reserve Bank to a more modest commercial bank when it needs to keep up with its reserve requirements.
  • Commercial banks secure adjustment credits with promissory notes when interest rates are high and the money supply is short.