Bank for International Settlements

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Bank for International Settlements
Headquarters Basel, Switzerland
Products International organization that fosters the cooperation of central banks and international financial institutions
Web site

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) [1] is an international organization fostering the cooperation of central banks and international financial institutions. Established in 1930, it is the world's oldest international financial organization. It is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, and has two representative offices: one in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and one in Mexico City.[2] It serves as a central bank for other central banks.

The BIS in May of 2017 released the final version of its code of conduct for the global foreign-exchange market. The code was designed to improve transparency and fairness in ethics, governance, execution, information sharing, compliance and trade settlement in FX trading in response to investigations into fraud committed by FX traders at a number of major banks.[3]



Established in 1930, the BIS is owned by 60 central banks, representing countries from around the world that together account for about 95 percent of world GDP. Its head office is in Basel, Switzerland and it has two representative offices, one in Hong Kong SAR and one in Mexico City.[4]

BIS Mandates

  • A forum to promote discussion and policy analysis among central banks and within the international financial community
  • A center for economic and monetary research
  • A prime counterparty for central banks in their financial transactions
  • An agent or trustee in connection with international financial operations

BIS Statistics

Given its connection between central banks and financial institutions globally, BIS statistics provide a thorough overview - and drilldown - into a number of areas of particular interest to financial institutions globally. These include data on:

  • Cross-border lending and borrowing of internationally active banks in key financial centers, including offshore centers (banking statistics) Locational banking statistics
  • Payment and settlement systems in major financial centers (payment statistics) Payment Systems
  • The International Association of Insurance Supervisors, which operates from the BIS, publishes data on the global reinsurance market.

Central Bank Web Sites

Not surprisingly, BIS lists Web sites for all Central Banks.


BIS surveys central banks' interest in cryptocurrencies. In January 2019, BIS reported its most recent survey's results. 63 central banks took part, 70% of which reported being engaged in, or about to being engaged in, central bank digital currencies (CBDC).[5] In BIS's January 2020 reported results covered 66 central banks, 80% of which are engaged in CBDC activities. 40% of the respondents are engaged in experiments or proofs of concept and another 10% of them had launched pilot projects.[6]

In its 2019 annual report, BIS said that big tech companies like Amazon and Google had begun seeking to offer payment services or other financial services to customers more than ever before. The report said that the technology used by these companies had the potential to improve global financial inclusivity by reducing costs associated with existing financial services, thereby lowering the barrier of entry for financial services for unbanked or underbanked people. It mentioned the development of Facebook's stablecoin Libra a number of times. In the report, BIS described the potential for big tech companies offering payment systems, such as Libra, to undermine banks, and highlighted the significant regulatory issues that would need to addressed, such as privacy issues, the tendency for big tech companies to lack the consumer protection expertise of existing financial institutions, and the fact that these services, though they technically compete with banks, still depend on banks to function.[7][8]

In a press release dated January 21, 2020, BIS announced that it was joining the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Swedish Riksbank and the Swiss National Bank to share assessments of and experiences with potential uses for central bank digital currencies in their home jurisdictions. The group will address functional and technical design alternatives as well as interoperability. The group is co-chaired by Benoit Coeure, head of BIS's Innovation Hub, and Jon Cunliffe, deputy governor of the Bank of England and chair of the international Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructure.[9]

In August 2020, BIS partnered with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to hold a tech competition for the digitization of finance, with a particular emphasis on distributed ledger technology.[10]


  1. "Bank for International Settlements”. BIS.
  2. About the BIS. BIS.
  3. BIS Releases New Set of Standards for Currency Trading. The Wall Street Journal.
  4. About. Bank for International Settlements.
  5. Proceeding with caution–a survey on central bank digital currency. BIS.
  6. [ Impending arrival – a sequel to the survey on central bank digital currency]. BIS.
  7. BIS Wants ‘Level Playing Field’ for Banks Amid Threat from Facebook. Coindesk.
  8. Big tech in finance: opportunities and risks. Bank for International Settlements.
  9. Press Release. Bank for International Settlements.
  10. BIS highlights decentralization and distributed ledgers with trade finance digitization competition. The Block.