Fed Holds Steady, For Now

Call it the quiet before the storm as the Federal Reserve says goodbye to Chairwoman Janet Yellen and holds steady on its key interest rate.

Rates are holding steady for now, but the Fed left the door open for a possible rate hike in March.

“This comes just as a lot of consumers are dealing with the after effects of the December interest rate hike, seeing that quarter point passed along on their credit cards and their home equity lines of credit, and that's a trend that's going to continue throughout 2018,” says Greg McBride, Bankrate.com.

“It's really imparative to pay down that debt aggressively, refinance variable rates into fixed rates, take that credit card debt and transfer the balance to a low-rate or zero-percent balance transfer offer, to give yourself a tail wind toward your debt repayment.”

Aside from Chairwoman Yellen's departure and the arrival of new Chairman Jerome Powell, McBride says there's a lot of other movement at the Federal Reserve this year.

“There are as many as four open seat that could be appointed by the president this year, so by the end of the year we could end up with a Fed committee that looks a whole lot different than what we had coming into 2018.”

He says the new committee will likely take a more aggressive approach than in recent years.

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