But in addition to acting as steward of the economy, the Fed's role has expanded over the years.
The Great Recession, a need for corporate bailouts, and concerns over the Fed's secrecy brought about recent changes to its institutional identity.
Certainly we've had a renewed focus on the Fed's responsibility as a regulator.
People wanted to see - needed to see - a Fed that operates no longer as a creature of the banks, but as a watchdog instead.
Emblematically, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act were signed into law in July 2010.
With it, Dodd-Frank brought the most substantial changes to financial regulation since the aftermath of the Great Depression. Particularly, a greater breadth of regulatory power was given to the Fed.