Guide to the international banking statistics

July 2000

Note: This document has been superseded by BIS Papers No. 16 - "Guide to the international banking statistics", and
BIS Papers No. 16 has been superseded by Guidelines to the international locational banking statistics and Guidelines to the international consolidated banking statistics


This Guide to the international banking statistics is intended to serve two main purposes: firstly, to provide reporting countries with definitions and guidelines for the reporting of data; secondly, to give a detailed account of current country practices regarding the coverage and disaggregation of the reported data. The Guide describes two statistical systems, the locational banking statistics and the consolidated banking statistics. It replaces the previous issue (May 1995) and includes numerous changes, updates and clarifications both to the guidelines themselves and to the tables on countries' reporting practices. The main changes to the guidelines have been the inclusion of a reporting requirement for data on an ultimate risk basis and the move to a quarterly reporting frequency in the consolidated banking statistics.

The locational banking statistics, which are described in Part I, gather quarterly data on international financial claims and liabilities of bank offices resident in the reporting countries broken down by currency, sector and country of residence of counterparty, and by nationality of reporting banks. In this system, both domestic and foreign-owned banking offices in the reporting countries record their positions on a gross (unconsolidated) basis, including those vis-à-vis own affiliates, which is consistent with the principles of national accounts, balance of payments and external debt statistics. The statistics were introduced with a breakdown by major individual currencies and a partial sectoral and geographical breakdown at the beginning of the 1970s to provide information on the development and growth of the eurocurrency markets. In the subsequent years, the issue of recycling oil-related surpluses and the accompanying rise in international indebtedness shifted the emphasis in favour of a more detailed geographical breakdown and of flow data. The outbreak of the debt crisis in the early 1980s stimulated further efforts to refine both the geographical coverage of the data and the estimates of exchange rate adjusted flows. In the early 1990s, strong interest arose in making use of these statistics to improve the coverage and accuracy of the recording of balance of payments transactions. Following the financial crises in emerging economies in the late 1990s the locational banking statistics became an important component of the Joint BIS-IMF-OECD-World Bank Statistics on External Debt, which were developed in response to requests for dissemination of more timely external debt indicators.

The consolidated banking statistics, which are described in Part II, collect quarterly data on banks' international financial claims broken down by remaining maturity and sector of borrower. In addition, they include information on exposures by country of immediate borrower and on the reallocation of claims (ie risk transfers) to the country of ultimate risk. The latter is defined as the country where the guarantor of a claim resides. The data mainly cover claims reported by domestic bank head offices, including the exposures of their foreign affiliates, and are collected on a worldwide consolidated basis with inter-office positions being netted out. The statistics also provide separate data on international claims of foreign bank offices whose head offices are located outside the reporting countries on an unconsolidated basis. The statistics were introduced as a semiannual reporting exercise in the late 1970s and early 1980s to provide information on the country risk exposures of major individual nationality banking groups to developing countries. Following the financial crises in emerging economies in the late 1990s, the consolidated banking statistics were enhanced to include complete country coverage of banks' on-balance sheet exposures, separate country data on an ultimate risk basis and a move to a quarterly reporting frequency.

Part III of this Guide provides a glossary of terms used in the locational and consolidated banking statistics, while part IV contains a list of international organisations (Appendix 1) and official monetary authorities (Appendix 2).

The BIS has invited a number of additional countries, in particular from emerging markets, to participate in the international banking statistics. This is intended to further increase the global coverage of the statistics. So far, two countries have joined both the locational (Australia and Portugal) and the consolidated (Hong Kong and Portugal) banking statistics, with more countries expected to be included in the near future.

The Guide has been prepared with the assistance of the central banks or official monetary authorities contributing to the two sets of international banking statistics. The BIS is grateful to all these institutions for their cooperation and valuable advice in its preparation.