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Fed Rate Hike: 7 Questions (and Answers)

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It wasn’t a question of if, but when. And the answer is “now,” as the Federal Reserve Board announced Wednesday that it would raise interest rates just in time for the new year, and a new administration.

During the Fed’s Dec. 14 meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee voted for a 0.25-percentage-point increase, raising the federal funds interest rate to 0.75%. It was the first increase since a 0.25-percentage-point hike in December 2015, which Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen positioned then as a vote of confidence in the U.S. economy. That hike was the first increase in almost 10 years.

All the big banks have funds at the Federal Reserve, and the Fed’s pronouncements on rates set how much interest those banks can charge one...

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