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The Tasks of the Bank of Greece

The tasks of the Bank of Greece can be divided into Eurosystem-related tasks and other tasks, which are summarised as follows:

Eurosystem-Related Tasks

Other Tasks of the Bank of Greece

Eurosystem-Related Tasks

Monetary policy

The Bank of Greece participates in the formulation of the single monetary policy in the euro area and implements it in Greece, in line with the guidelines and instructions of the European Central Bank (ECB). The Bank conducts monetary policy operations whereby it provides liquidity to domestic credit institutions (main and long-term refinancing operations). It also provides marginal lending and deposit facilities to credit institutions, in order to grant and absorb liquidity, respectively. Finally, it holds the minimum reserve accounts of domestic banks.

Monetary policy and the Eurosystem

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Foreign exchange and reserve assets

The Bank of Greece manages part of the ECB’s foreign exchange and gold reserves on behalf and in line with the instructions of the ECB.

Financial Operations Department

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Payment and settlement systems

The Bank of Greece oversees payment systems and instruments with a view to ensuring their soundness, reliability and efficiency. To perform more effectively its tasks related to payment systems, the Bank of Greece monitors international developments in the institutional framework and fund transfer infrastructures; compiles and analyses payment statistics; publishes statistical bulletins; and examines ways of improving methods of management of the risks inherent in payment systems and the operational risks of infrastructures, revising such methods if necessary.

As from 19 May 2008, the Bank of Greece is a member of Target2, the new trans-European automated real-time gross settlement express transfer system, which is mainly used for interbank large fund transfers and payments connected with the conduct of monetary policy. The Bank of Greece operates the Greek component of the system. The Bank of Greece’s task focuses on, among other things, monitoring payment flows and intraday liquidity requirements, as well as collecting data and compiling statistics on the management of the system.

Payment Systems Department

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Financial stability

The Bank of Greece is responsible for monitoring financial stability, with a view to identifying vulnerabilities in Greece’s financial system, and assesses its resilience.

  • It promotes arrangements for the maintenance of financial stability and effective management of financial crises, in cooperation with other competent authorities in Greece.
  • It monitors banking risks, analyses developments affecting them and presents proposals for ensuring financial stability. It also monitors developments in insurance and investment firms, as well as in undertakings in collective investments not supervised by the Bank of Greece. 

Financial Stability Department

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Statistics

Collecting statistical data from monetary financial institutions (MFIs) (i.e. banks and money market funds) is also a very important task of the Bank. The Bank of Greece collects data on bank rates, as well as data that make up monetary statistics (loans, deposits and other assets and liabilities of MFIs). These statistics are sent to the ECB and taken into account for the calculation of average interest rates in the euro area and the compilation of euro area monetary and credit aggregates. These aggregates are monitored in the context of the Eurosystem’s monetary analysis and their outcomes directly affect monetary policy decisions.

Statistics Department

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Banknotes and coins

The Bank of Greece 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. It 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. It also guarantees the continued conduct of market transactions and the smooth supply of credit institutions across Greece with the necessary quantities of euro banknotes and coins through the Bank of Greece network. The Bank of Greece processes and controls through high-technology devices all the banknotes and coins collected from transactions or deposited by credit institutions, ensuring both the quality and the genuineness of banknotes in circulation. These operations are carried out across the Bank’s branch network and, most importantly, in the state-of-the-art facilities of the Cash Processing and Distribution Centre, which started operations in 2006 in Athens (Halandri).

Cash Department

Bank of Greece Printing Works

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Other Tasks of the Bank of Greece

Supervision

The Bank of Greece is responsible for supervising credit institutions and for supervising and monitoring of insurance and reinsurance firms as well as insurance intermediaries. Specifically:

The Bank of Greece is responsible for supervising credit institutions and certain categories of enterprises in the financial sector. Supervision is conducted in accordance with the new Basel II framework, as transposed to Greek law, and the rules established by the Bank of Greece, mainly regarding authorisation and control of solvency, liquidity, capital adequacy and concentration risk of supervised institutions, adequacy and efficiency of corporate governance and internal control systems, including Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) procedures. The Bank of Greece also establishes rules on transaction transparency and the clarity of transaction terms. Its supervisory tasks also include monitoring the implementation of the relevant institutional framework, recommending corrective measures and imposing administrative sanctions, including withdrawal of authorisation of credit institutions.

The Bank of Greece is responsible for the supervision and monitoring of: Greek-based insurance and reinsurance firms and their branches abroad; insurance firms based in other countries in the EU or the EEA and active in Greece under the right of establishment or under the freedom to provide services; insurance firms based in third countries (outside the EU and the EEA) and active in Greece; and insurance intermediaries.

 Supervision of Credit and Related Financial Institutions Department (SCRFID) 

Supervision of Private Insurance Department 

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Payment and Securities Settlement Systems

The Bank of Greece:

(a) Is responsible for the management and operation of the System for Monitoring Transactions in Book-Entry Securities. It is the system through which all transactions in Greek government bonds on both the primary and the secondary market are settled.

(b) Is responsible for the operation of the Electronic Secondary Market for Securities (HDAT). It is a regulated secondary market in Greek government securities. It was established in order to create a well-organised and efficient market capable of ensuring pricing transparency and higher liquidity.

Payment and Settlements Systems Department

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Reserve assets

The Bank of Greece holds and manages the country’s official reserve assets, including the foreign exchange and gold reserves of the Bank of Greece and the government, with a view to:

  • providing the funds required for Greece’s participation in international organisations (e.g. the International Monetary Fund) and the management of government transactions in foreign currencies; and
  • ensuring the readiness of the Bank of Greece, required in the context of the Eurosystem, to provide additional liquidity in foreign exchange to the European Central Bank if the latter is required to intervene in foreign exchange markets

Financial Operations Department

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Treasurer and fiscal agent of the government

The Bank of Greece keeps current and time deposit accounts of the government and legal persons in public law in euro and foreign exchange, on the one hand for meeting domestic requirements and, on the other hand, for servicing the external debt. It also carries out payment and collection orders of the government and legal persons in public law in connection with foreign counterparties and provides intermediation services for their international financial activities.

Government Financial Operations and Accounts Department

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Statistics

The Bank of Greece also compiles and publishes the monetary and credit aggregates concerning the Greek economy and the average interest rates applied by domestic credit institutions to various categories of deposits and loans. In addition to collecting data for monetary statistics, the Bank of Greece also compiles the balance of payments and the financial accounts of the country and, generally, collects and publishes data concerning the Greek economy in the Bulletin of Conjunctural Indicators. Moreover, it conducts specialised statistical surveys on matters related to its tasks (e.g. household indebtedness surveys).

Collecting statistical data aims at both meeting the Bank’s own statistical information requirements and performing its obligations towards the ECB and other international organisations, as well as informing the public and researchers in Greece and abroad. Specifically, the data – in addition to monetary statistics – collected and compiled by the Bank of Greece concern the following four categories:

i. assets and liabilities of financial corporations and data on the mutual fund market

ii. Greece’s balance of payments and international investment position

iii. the country’s financial accounts, according to the methodology of the European System of Accounts 1995 and

iv. general data on the Greek economy.

Statistics Department

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Research and publications (publication of reports and conduct of research)

The Bank of Greece’s objectives include monitoring and analysing the economic conjuncture and monetary policy. To this end, it publishes in April every year an Annual Report on the Greek economy, in order to provide comprehensive and objective information on the performance and prospects of the Greek economy. Moreover, it publishes two reports on monetary policy every year, a Monetary Policy Annual Report in February and a Monetary Policy Interim Report in October, which are submitted to Parliament and the Cabinet and discuss monetary policy and economic developments in Greece and the euro area.

The key economic aggregates of the Greek economy at national and regional level are presented in the Bulletin of Conjunctural Indicators and the Bulletin of Regional Conjunctural Indicators, both published on a monthly basis. These two statistical bulletins present short- and long-term developments on the basis of the latest available data, with a view to giving a comprehensive picture of economic developments in Greece at national and regional level.

The Bank of Greece researchers conduct innovative research in order to promote the academic community’s and general public’s understanding of monetary policy, national and regional development, market economy and supervisory policy issues. In this context, the Bank organises specialised training courses, meetings and conferences. Greek and foreign researchers visit regularly the Bank of Greece, deliver lectures and cooperate with the Bank of Greece researchers. Studies are published on the Bank of Greece website, in the semi-annual Economic Bulletin and the Working Papers series.

Studies and publications

Economic Analysis and Research Department

Bank of Greece Library

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