What is a Bank for International Settlements (BIS)?

The BIS, located in Basle, Switzerland, was established in 1930 to administer the post-World War I reparations agreements. Since the 1960s, the BIS has evolved into an important international monetary institution, and has provided a forum in which central bankers meet and consult on a monthly basis. As an independent financial organization, the BIS performs a variety of banking, trustee, and agent functions, primarily with central banks. At present the BIS has 29 members, 28 of which are central banks. The Federal Reserve is represented at BIS meetings, but is not a member. The BIS is the only international financial institution in which most Eastern European countries are members. The Soviet Union, East Germany, and Albania, however, are not members.