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February 1980

Access to the Discount Window for All Commercial Banks: Is It Important for Monetary Policy?

This article takes an indirect approach to determining whether nonmember banks have greater reserve management difficulties due to lack of access to the discount window. If borrowing from the discount window is a useful way to adjust to unanticipated reserve outflows, member banks would borrow from the discount window on at least a few occasions each year, taking advantage of their regular, reliable, day-to-day access to the discount window to meet unexpected withdrawals or to cushion themselves against temporary liquidity pressures. If, however, most member banks manage their reserve positions without borrowing at the discount window, it is doubtful that nonmember banks have significantly greater difficulty than members in responding to similar reserve outflows. In this case, lack of access to the discount window for nonmember banks is simply irrelevant to the membership issue.