The Bank of Italy
The Bank of Italy is the central bank of the Republic of Italy. It is a public-law institution regulated by national and European legislation. It is an integral part of the Eurosystem, which is made up of the national central banks of the euro area and the European Central Bank. The Eurosystem and the central banks of the member states of the European Union that have not adopted the euro make up the European System of Central Banks.
The Bank pursues aims in the general interest in the sector of money and finance: price stability, which is the main objective of the Eurosystem under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; the stability and efficiency of the financial system, thus implementing the principle of the protection of savings embodied in the Constitution (Article 47 states “The Republic encourages and protects saving in all its forms, it regulates, coordinates and controls the provision of credit”); and the other duties entrusted to it by Italian law.
As regards supervision, the Bank of Italy is the competent national authority for the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) for banks. As regards to resolution, Bank of Italy is the competent National Resolution Authority (NRA) that performs the tasks envisaged by the Single Resolution Mechanism.
The Bank’s organization and governance reflects the need to rigorously safeguard its independence from outside influence. This is an essential precondition for carrying out its institutional activities effectively. Italian and European legislation guarantee the necessary autonomy for it to fulfil its mandate. In return for such autonomy, there are strict duties of transparency and disclosure. The Bank reports on its work to the Government, the Parliament and the public by publishing data and news on its institutional activities and on the use it makes of its resources.
At the national level the Bank is organized in branches located in the regional capitals and in some provincial capitals. Their activities relate to the State treasury service, banking and financial supervision, banknote circulation, payment system services and economic analysis and statistical surveys at the local level.
The Bank has representative offices in London, New York and Tokyo; a number of officers are seconded as financial attachés to some Italian embassies and consulates.
The audit and legal functions are directly under the Governing Board. The Financial Intelligence Unit has an autonomous position.
The Bank of Italy is currently engaged in a reorganization designed to enhance the quality, economy and efficiency of the services it provides to the country, in line with the changing economic and financial landscape and with the opportunities offered by technological innovation.
The Bank of Italy’s primary function is ensuring monetary and financial stability, which are essential to sustained economic growth. The Bank’s activity comprises a range of commitments within the Eurosystem and worldwide.
The governance of the Bank of Italy is founded on the principle of independence enshrined in European Union and national law and reaffirmed in the Bank’s own Statute. The Statute provides that the Bank is to be governed by the Shareholders’ Meeting, the Board of Directors, the Governing Board, consisting of the Governor, the Senior Deputy Governor and three other Deputy Governors, and the Board of Auditors.
The institutional arrangements for the Bank of Italy were modified by a reform of the Statute, enacted with the Presidential Decree of 27 December 2013. The Bank’s independence, as supervisory authority, from indirect interference by the shareholder institutions is guaranteed by long-standing laws (Legislative Decree 691/1947, Article 5) that preclude any competence of the Board of Directors in the matter of credit and financial supervision.
The Bank’s membership of the European System of Central Banks and the functions that are entailed in that membership are fundamental. The Governor’s participation in the European Central Bank’s Governing Council means that the duties performed and the powers exercised in that framework derive exclusively from that position.
The Bank’s accounts are verified by an outside auditing firm, as laid down in the Statute of the European System of Central Banks.