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.

   Central Bank Responsibilities

  • 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 of Canada
Bank of England
United States Federal Reserve
Swiss National Bank
Bank of Japan
Reserve Bank of Australia
Reserve Bank of New Zealand
European Central Bank