A new Federal Reserve boss
President Barack Obama has faced a huge decision on replacing Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chairman, the leader and public face of the nation's central bank.
He has settled on promoting current Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen to the chairman's job. If confirmed, she would become the 15th person to lead the Fed in its 100-year history.
It's one of the most powerful jobs in the world. Most Fed pronouncements reflect the chairman's wishes, even though decisions about monetary policy are made by committee. The chairman is one of seven members of the Fed's Board of Governors, and each is appointed by the president and can agree or disagree with committee decisions.
The Fed controls the supply of money, sets targets for short-term interest rates and regulates private banks. Its mandate is to keep unemployment low, prices stable and the economy growing.
"The Federal Reserve is incredibly relevant to everyone's day-to-day life," says Greg McBride, CFA, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com. "The nomination of a new Federal Reserve chairman is more significant to Americans, in terms of their pocketbooks, than the changing of the president."
The Fed's work affects your job stability, the performance of your 401(k) and how much you spend at the grocery store, McBride says.
Who has led the Fed? Here are profiles of Yellen, current Fed Chairman Bernanke and his predecessor Alan Greenspan.