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Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

What Is the Bank for International Settlements (BIS)?

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is an international financial institution offering banking services for national central banks and a forum for examining monetary and regulatory policies. The BIS, which is owned by 63 national central banks, additionally gives independent economic analysis.

Grasping the Bank for International Settlements

Settled in Basel, Switzerland, the Bank for International Settlements is frequently called the "central bank for central banks" since it gives banking services to institutions like the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve. These services incorporate accounts for revenue bearing deposits and securities, gold and currency transactions, asset management services, and the provision of short-term collateralized loans.

The bank doesn't handle transactions for, or give loans to, state run administrations. It additionally doesn't work with corporations or consumers.

The BIS likewise encourages cooperation among central banks. The Basel Committee for Banking Supervision (BCBS) is a closely associated international forum for financial regulation. It is one of several independently represented international committees and associations based at BIS headquarters and upheld by its secretariat.

The BCBS is responsible for the Basel Accords, which recommend capital requirements and other banking regulations widely adopted by national states.

BIS Governance and Finances

The BIS is represented by a board of 18 directors chose by its member central banks, The central bank governors of the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, and Belgium are permanent directors, and may jointly select one more director from one of those central banks. The excess 11 directors are chosen by the whole membership from among governors of the other member central banks.

The board supervises a senior supervisor responsible for BIS operations. The bank had 634 employees from 64 countries as of March 2021.

The BIS had assets of 356.2 billion in International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), an international currency used to settle accounts between countries as of March 2021. That was equivalent to $493.7 billion at the common exchange rate on March 10, 2022. The BIS created a gain of about SDR 1.24 billion for the year ended March 2021, generally from the margin between its lending and deposit rates.

History of the BIS

The BIS was established in 1930 as a clearinghouse for German war reparations forced by the Treaty of Versailles. The original members were Germany, Belgium, France, Britain, Italy, Japan, the U.S., and Switzerland. Reparations were discontinued shortly after the bank's establishing, and the BIS turned into a forum for cooperation and a counterparty for transactions among central banks.

The bank was formally neutral during World War II, however was widely viewed as abetting the Nazi war exertion, beginning with its transfer of Czechoslovakian national bank gold to Germany's Reichsbank in mid 1939. Toward the finish of the war, the Allies agreed to close the BIS down yet didn't proceed with the plan, halfway at John Maynard Keynes' asking.

While the Bretton Woods agreement stayed in effect, the BIS assumed a urgent part in keeping up with international currency convertibility. It likewise went about as the agent for the 18-country European Payments Union, a settlement system that reestablished convertibility among European currencies from 1950 to 1958.

At the point when the world progressed to floating exchange rates during the 1970s, the BIS and BCBS zeroed in on financial stability, creating capital requirements for banks in light of the peril of their financial positions.

The subsequent Basel Accords have been adopted widely by national state run administrations to direct their banking systems. Dealings on Basel III, an update to previous accords that came as a response to the financial crisis, were completed in December 2017.

In March 2022 the BIS said it suspended dealings with Russia's central bank in compliance with international sanctions following Russia's attack of Ukraine.


  • BIS is the rare international financial organization with for-profit operations.
  • BIS fills in as a forum for monetary policy conversations and works with financial transactions for central banks.
  • BIS shares offices with, and gives a secretariat to, independently represented international committees and associations zeroed in on economic co-operation.
  • It is represented by a board chose by the 63 central banks with ownership stakes, with permanent seats reserved for the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Italy, and Belgium.