Central Banks

What is the Central Bank?

The central bank (also sometimes referred to as the reserve bank or monetary authority) is the entity responsible for the monetary policy of a country or of a group of member states. Its primary responsibility is to maintain the stability of the national currency and money supply, but more active duties include controlling subsidized-loan interest rates, and acting as a "bailout" lender of last resort to the banking sector during times of financial crisis. Most wealthy countries today have an "independent" central bank-that is, one which operates under rules designed to prevent political interference.

  • Implementation of monetary policy
  • Controls the nation's money supply
  • Acts as the government's banker as well as the bankers' bank ("lender of last resort")
  • Manages the country's forex and gold reserves, as well as the government's stock register
  • Sets the official interest rate, used to manage both inflation and the country's exchange rate

Central Banks of "The Majors"

Below is a list of central banks for several of the world's major currencies:

Bank URL
Bank of Canada http://www.bankofcanada.ca
Bank of England http://www.bankofengland.co.uk
United States Federal Reserve http://www.federalreserve.gov
Swiss National Bank http://www.snb.ch
Bank of Japan http://www.boj.or.jp
Reserve Bank of Australia http://www.rba.gov.au
Reserve Bank of New Zealand http://www.rbnz.govt.nz
European Central Bank http://www.ecb.int