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Bank for International Settlements

 

Bank for International Settlements Logo

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is an intergovernmental organization of central banks which 'fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks.' It is not accountable to any national government. The BIS carries out its work through subcommittees, the secretariats it hosts, and through its annual General Meeting of all members.

 
 

It also provides banking services, but only to central banks, or to international organizations like itself. Based in Basel, Switzerland, the BIS was established by the Hague agreements of 1930. The name of the BIS in German: Bank für Internationalen Zahlungsausgleich (BIZ), in French: Banque des Règlements Internationaux (BRI), in Italian: Banca dei Regolamenti Internazionali (BRI). It has representative offices in Hong Kong and Mexico City. As an organization of central banks, the BIS seeks to make monetary policy more predictable and transparent among its 57 member central banks.


While monetary policy is determined by each sovereign nation, it is subject to central and private banking scrutiny and potentially to speculation that affects foreign exchange rates and especially the fate of export economies. Failures to keep monetary policy in line with reality and make monetary reforms in time, preferably as a simultaneous policy among all 57 member banks and also involving the International Monetary Fund, have historically led to losses in the billions as banks try to maintain a policy using open market methods that have proven to be unrealistic.

Central banks do not unilaterally 'set' rates, rather they set goals and intervene using their massive financial resources and regulatory powers to achieve monetary targets they set. One reason to coordinate policy closely is to ensure that this does not become too expensive and that opportunities for private arbitrage exploiting shifts in policy or difference in policy, are rare and quickly removed.
 

Bank for International Settlements HQ Location Map

Bank for International Settlements
HQ Address: Centralbahnplatz 2
Basel
Switzerland
Tel: +41 61 280 8080
Fax: +41 61 280 9100
Website: www.bis.org
Email: email@bis.org
Banking Hours:
Monday - Friday : 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
 

 

Two aspects of monetary policy have proven to be particularly sensitive, and the BIS therefore has two specific goals: to regulate capital adequacy and make reserve requirements transparent.

The BIS provides the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision with its twelve-member secretariat, and with it has played a central role in establishing the Basel Capital Accords of 1988 and 2004. There remain significant differences between US, EU and UN officials regarding the degree of capital adequacy and reserve controls that global banking now requires. Put extremely simply, the US as of 2006 favoured strong strict central controls in the spirit of the original 1988 accords, the EU was more inclined to a distributed system managed collectively with a committee able to approve some exceptions.
 

 

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