Established on 17 May 1930, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is the world's oldest international financial organisation. The BIS has 60 member central banks, representing countries from around the world that together make up about 95% of world GDP.
The head office is in Basel, Switzerland and there are two representative offices: in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and in Mexico City.
The mission of the BIS is to serve central banks in their pursuit of monetary and financial stability, to foster international cooperation in those areas and to act as a bank for central banks.
In broad outline, the BIS pursues its mission by:
- fostering discussion and facilitating collaboration among central banks;
- supporting dialogue with other authorities that are responsible for promoting financial stability;
- carrying out research and policy analysis on issues of relevance for monetary and financial stability;
- acting as a prime counterparty for central banks in their financial transactions; and
- serving as an agent or trustee in connection with international financial operations.
Monetary and financial stability is a precondition for sustained economic growth and prosperity. Reflecting the public good character of this goal, the BIS also makes part of its work available free of charge to the wider public, including:
- its own analyses of monetary and financial stability issues;
- international banking and financial statistics that underpin policymaking, academic research and public debate.
With regard to its banking activities, the customers of the BIS are central banks and international organisations. As a bank, the BIS does not accept deposits from, or provide financial services to, private individuals or corporate entities.