The Bank of Greece
The Bank of Greece is the central bank of the country. It was established in 1927 by an Annex to the Geneva Protocol and started operations in May 1928. It was incorporated as a société anonyme. According to its Statute, its head office is in Athens. It has a nationwide network of 17 branches, 35 agencies and 9 outlets.
As from January 2001, the Bank of Greece is an integral part of the Eurosystem, which consists of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the national central banks (NCBs) of the European Union (EU) Member States participating in the euro area. This implies that the Bank of Greece contributes through its activities to the achievement of the objectives and the performance of the tasks of the Eurosystem, which defines and implements monetary policy in the euro area.
The Bank of Greece is responsible for implementing the Eurosystem’s monetary policy in Greece and safeguarding the stability of the Greek financial system. According to its Statute, its primary objective is to ensure the stability of the general price level. Without prejudice to its primary objective, the Bank supports the general economic policy of the government. In the performance of its tasks, the Bank enjoys institutional, personal and operational independence, and is accountable to the Greek Parliament.
The tasks of the Bank of Greece can be divided into Eurosystem-related tasks and other tasks, which are summarised as follows:
1. Eurosystem-related tasks
2. Other tasks of the Bank of Greece
- Participates in the formulation of the single monetary policy of the euro area and implements it in Greece.
- Manages part of the ECB’s foreign exchange and gold reserves on behalf and in line with the instructions of the ECB
- Oversees payment systems and instruments with a view to ensuring their soundness, reliability and efficiency. In this context, it monitors and oversees, inter alia, the DIAS payment system and the Athens Clearing Office. As from 19 May 2008, it is a member of Target2 , the new trans-European automated real-time gross settlement express transfer system.
- Promotes arrangements for the maintenance of financial stability and effective management of financial crises.
- Collects statistical data from monetary financial institutions (MFIs) (i.e. banks and money market funds).
- Issues legal tender euro banknotes, subject to prior approval by the ECB, and is responsible for the circulation and handling of euro banknotes and coins in Greece.
- Ensures the supply of the necessary quantities per denomination, either through the Bank of Greece Printing Works (IETA) or through cross-border cash shipments, as well as their safe storage, transport and recycling or destruction, and, overall, the smooth supply of cash to the economy..
2. Other Tasks of the Bank of Greece
- Carries out prudential supervision of credit institutions and certain categories of enterprises in the financial sector.
- Supervises and monitors the insurance and reinsurance firms as well as insurance intermediaries.
- Is responsible for the management and operation of the System for Monitoring Transactions in Book-Entry Securities.
- Is responsible for the operation of the Electronic Secondary Market for Securities (ΗΔΑΤ).
- Holds and manages the country’s official reserve assets, including the foreign exchange and gold reserves of the Bank of Greece and the government.
- Acts as treasurer and fiscal agent for the government.
- Compiles and publishes statistics on the Greek economy and conducts specialised statistical surveys.
- Publishes reports and carries out policy-relevant research and analysis of the economic conjuncture and the monetary policy.