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Bank Reserve


Bank reserve refers to the minimum amount of cash that banks are required to have on hand to meet depositors’ demands for withdrawals. This is mandated by a country’s central bank as a measure to ensure financial stability and liquidity. The reserve amount is generally a percentage of the bank’s total deposits, held either as cash or as deposits with the central bank.


The phonetics of the keyword “Bank Reserve” using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) would be:/bæŋk rɪˈzɜrv/

Key Takeaways

  1. Bank reserves are the minimum cash reserves that banks must hold to ensure they have enough liquidity to meet the withdrawal demands of their depositors.
  2. Reserve requirements are set by a central authority, such as the Federal Reserve, which is responsible for establishing the percentage of deposits banks must maintain in reserve.
  3. Excess reserves, which are funds held by a bank over and above the required reserve amount, can be utilized to make new loans or invest in other interest-earning assets, contributing to the overall economy’s growth.


The term Bank Reserve is important in the business and finance sector as it refers to the minimum amount of funds that banks are required by law to hold as a safety net to ensure financial stability and liquidity. This enables banks to meet depositors’ demands, maintain the trust of their customers, and allows the central bank to regulate the money supply in the economy. These reserves, which consist of cash held in the bank’s vault or in the central bank, act as a buffer for unexpected fluctuations in monetary demand and limit potential risks, such as bank runs or economic crises. In essence, bank reserves play a pivotal role in the overall functioning and security of the monetary system.


Bank reserves serve a vital purpose in maintaining the financial stability and economic well-being of a nation. Primarily, these reserves help to ensure the liquidity of banks, enabling them to meet the demands of their depositors and to extend credit to borrowers when needed. As banks manage a wide array of services, such as accepting deposits, granting loans, and providing financial instruments, it is crucial for them to maintain a safeguard in the form of a reserve. This helps them continue their everyday operations, unswayed by temporary fluctuations in the market, and thereby, reinforcing the trust and confidence of customers in the banking system. Additionally, authorities use bank reserve requirements as a tool to implement monetary policies that could influence economic growth and control inflation. One vital aspect of a bank reserve is that it can be held in either cash or deposit form, as mandated by a nation’s central bank. The “required reserve ratio” is determined by the central bank and guides banks on the percentage of their liabilities that must be maintained as reserves. By adjusting the required reserve ratio, central banks can influence the money supply and credit availability, which plays a crucial role in the country’s monetary policy. For example, by raising the reserve requirement, a central bank can restrict the amount of money banks can lend, thus tightening the money supply and curbing economic growth. Conversely, lowering the reserve requirement enables banks to lend more money, thereby accelerating economic growth. In essence, bank reserves are not only a safety mechanism for individual banks but also function as a critical component in shaping the larger economic landscape.


1. Federal Reserve Requirements: In the United States, the Federal Reserve sets the required reserve ratio for banks. As of January 2020, the reserve requirement for banks with up to $16.9 million in deposits is 0%, for banks with deposits between $16.9 million and $127.5 million it is 3%, and for banks over $127.5 million, the reserve requirement is 10%. These requirements ensure that banks maintain a certain level of cash reserves to meet the withdrawal demands of their customers. 2. JP Morgan Chase & Co. Cash Reserves: As one of the largest banks in the world, JP Morgan Chase & Co. is required to maintain significant cash reserves. As of the third quarter in 2021, JP Morgan Chase held around $869 billion in cash and short-term investments. This helps the bank stay financially stable, ensuring that they are able to cover any unexpected customer withdrawals or financial crises. 3. Specific Liquidity Coverage Ratio Requirements: After the global financial crisis in 2008, regulators introduced new liquidity requirements for banks, called the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR). The LCR is designed to ensure that banks maintain a sufficient level of high-quality liquid assets (HQLA) to withstand a potential 30-day stress scenario. For example, in the European Union, banks are required to maintain an LCR of at least 100%. This means they must have enough HQLA to cover the difference between expected cash inflows and outflows over a 30-day period, which serves as a type of reserve for the institution.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Bank Reserve?
A Bank Reserve refers to the mandatory minimum amount of cash or cash-equivalent assets that banks and other financial institutions must hold from their depositors’ funds. This helps to ensure liquidity, meet withdrawal demands, and maintain financial stability in the banking system.
Why are Bank Reserves important?
Bank Reserves play a vital role in ensuring financial stability, promoting trust among depositors, and preventing bank runs during times of economic crisis. They also help central banks in controlling the money supply, interest rates, and inflation in the economy.
How are Bank Reserve requirements determined?
The reserve requirements are typically set by the central bank or other regulatory authorities of a country. These requirements are usually expressed as a percentage of the bank’s total deposit liabilities. Different countries may have different reserve ratios depending on their specific monetary policy objectives.
What are the types of Bank Reserves?
There are two main types of Bank Reserves: Vault Cash and Reserve Balances. Vault Cash refers to the physical currency held by banks, while Reserve Balances are the funds held in an account with the central bank.
Can a bank use its reserve for lending or investment purposes?
No, the primary purpose of a Bank Reserve is to maintain liquidity in the banking system and meet withdrawal demands. Banks are not allowed to use these reserves for lending or investment purposes. However, banks can use funds in excess of their required reserve levels for lending or investment activities.
How do Bank Reserves affect the money supply?
When the central bank alters the reserve requirement, it affects the money supply indirectly. If the reserve ratio increases, banks are required to hold more reserves, which reduces the amount of funds they can lend or invest. This results in a decrease in the money supply. Conversely, if the reserve ratio decreases, banks can lend or invest more, which increases the money supply.

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