The central bank of the United States and the most powerful financial institution in the world. The Federal Reserve Bank was founded by the U.S. Congress in 1913 to provide the nation with a safe, flexible and stable monetary and financial system. It is based on a federal system that comprises a central governmental agency (the Board of Governors) in Washington, DC and 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks that are each responsible for a specific geographic area of the U.S. The Federal Reserve Bank is considered to be independent because its decisions do not have to be ratified by the President or any other government official. However, it is still subject to Congressional oversight and must work within the framework of the government’s economic and financial policy objectives. Often known simply as “the Fed".