International and Regional Lending Institutions
The charter for the IBRD was negotiated at the Bretton Woods International Monetary and Financial Conference in 1944. The Bank began operations at its Washington headquarters in June 1946. The Bank was designed to help finance the rebuilding of war-devastated areas and the economic development of member nations. The bulk of the Bank's loans before 1950 were for European recon- struction, but since that time its loans have been largely for economic development, mainly in non-European coun- tries. As of October 1964 the Bank had 102 members.
The IBRD is restricted to making loans for productive purposes in member states and their political subdivisions, or to private enterprises situated within the territory of members. All loans to entities other than member governments require a guarantee by the member government. The Bank may aid and encourage private investment by participating in or guaranteeing loans to private investors.
The bulk of the IBRD's loans are long-term loans for specific projects. The Bank normally ties its loan disbursements to specific commodity imports, but it does not require that borrowers spend the proceeds of the loans in a particular country. The Bank also makes loans to development banks for relending to private enterprise.
With few exceptions, the Bank's loans are long-term (over five years). Repayment is in the currency loaned or in the currency used by the Bank to acquire loan funds.