Bank for International Settlements

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Bank for International Settlements

Bank for International Settlements (BIS), international financial institution est. (1930) in Basel, Switzerland, by bankers and diplomats from Europe, the United States, and Japan. It was originally set up to facilitate Germany's World War I reparation payments (a purpose that was soon abandoned). After World War II, BIS directors were accused of having helped to sell assests obtained illegally by the Nazis from occupied countries, but efforts to scrap the bank failed. The BIS later facilitated Marshall Plan payments (1947 on), acted for the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (1950–58), and helped establish the European monetary union (1960s on). Today its purpose is to serve central banks in their search for financial and monetary stability, to foster international monetary and financial cooperation, and to act as a bank for its members, which consist of 60 central banks and monetary authorities (including the European Central Bank). The BIS is a limited-share company and an international organization, not accountable to any nation but answerable to international law. The BIS promotes discussion and collaboration among central banks, conducts research on matters relating to central banks, acts as a counterparty for central banks in their financial operations, and serves as an agent or trustee in matters related to international finance.

See A. LeBor, Tower of Basel (2013).

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