What is a ‘Bank Reserve’

A bank reserve is the currency deposit that is not lent out to the bank’s clients. A small fraction of the total deposits is held internally by the bank in cash vaults or deposited with the central bank. Minimum reserve requirements are established by central banks in order to ensure that the financial institutions will be able to provide clients with cash upon request.

BREAKING DOWN ‘Bank Reserve’

Bank reserves are typically held by financial institutions to avoid bank runs and have sufficient cash on hand, should an unexpected and large withdrawal request come up. Bank reserves are divided into required reserves and excess reserves. Because of the banking industry’s importance to the economy, national authorities regulate banks by obligating them to hold a certain amount of required reserves with central banks.

Excess reserves represent any vault cash that banks hold that is in excess of the required reserves amount. Banks typically have low incentive to maintain excess reserves because cash earns the rate of return of zero and can lose value over time due to inflation. Thus, under normal circumstances, banks minimize their excess…