An institution that has been in the news a lot these past few years, and which has come in for its share of criticism during the nation’s stubborn economic problems, observes the anniversary of its founding today. The Federal Reserve System, known simply as “the Fed,” came into being on this date in 1913, with the job of keeping the nation’s complex financial system in tune. Acting as the nation’s central bank, “the Fed” influences the lending and investing activities of all banks, along with the availability of money and credit, all the way up to the national government. Backstopped by the Federal Reserve, there are more than 96,000 commercial banks in the U.S., performing transactions valued at over $386 billion a year. You can find current data on the country’s economy by downloading the ‘America’s Economy’ mobile application at <www.census.gov/mobile>.