Finally! For the first time in nine years, the Fed finally raised interest rates. On Wednesday, December 16, 2015, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the monetary policymaking arm of the Federal Reserve (Fed), initiated a Fed policy tightening cycle for the first time in more than 11 years by raising the target for the federal funds rate by 0.25% (the rate that banks charge each other for overnight loans on funds held at the Fed). The widely expected decision marks the end of a long, seven-year period of zero rates initiated by the Fed to combat the effects of the financial crisis in 2008. This is a big event (maybe not Star Wars big, but big) because of how long zero rates have been in place.