What the European Central Bank does and what it means for you

Will the euros in your pocket buy you as much tomorrow as they do today? Can you rely on your bank in good times and bad? There are 4,000 employees working at the ECB to make sure the answer to these questions is a resounding yes!

Τhe ECB is based in Frankfurt but the ECB's employees are from all over Europe, speaking 24 different languages. They also work closely with colleagues from the central banks in all euro area countries. Read on to find out ten ways the ECB's work relates to you. The ECB is proud to serve 346 million Europeans who use the euro every day.

1. The ECB safeguards the value of your euros  

The ECB does not want prices to rise so much that your money rapidly loses value. Nor does the ECB want an ongoing period of falling prices because then people delay buying things, which can slow the economy down and lead to job losses. If we keep prices stable people and firms can plan more easily for the future.

2. The ECB's work supports the economy and employment

The ECB use a range of monetary policy tools to keep prices stable. This, in turn, supports the economy, people’s incomes and job creation. The ECB's tools include setting key interest rates for the economy, lending to banks to support the flow of credit to households and businesses, and buying assets to help funding conditions in all parts of the economy.

3. The ECB supervises the banks

To make sure you can put your trust in banks in the euro area, since 2014 the ECB have been monitoring how sound and resilient they are; if the ECB finds any issues, it requires banks to correct them. While the ECB supervises big banks itself, for the oversight of smaller banks the ECB works together with the national supervisory authorities.

4. The ECB keeps an eye on how stable the financial system is

...to make sure that, even in turbulent times, people can access their bank accounts, businesses can make and receive payments, and investors can trade. A resilient system can withstand shocks without major disruption.

5. The ECB makes euro banknotes

Could you spot a counterfeit banknote? Together with the national central banks of the euro area the ECB rolled out a new series of euro banknotes in recent years, with updated security features which make counterfeiting all the more difficult.

6. The ECB makes sure you can make electronic payments safely

When you make a payment in euro by card or online, the ECB makes sure it is soundly and efficiently managed, whether by the ECB's systems or systems the ECB oversee. The ECB systems are among those that enable banks to transfer your money throughout the EU in just a few seconds.

7. The ECB investigates crypto-assets and blockchain

How could “cryptocurrencies” affect banks and your money? How could the new technologies they run on, such as blockchain, improve the way we all make payments? These are things the ECB's innovation teams are looking at.

8. The ECB helps your bank to be cyber-resilient

To keep your money safe from cybercrime the ECB brings the financial community together to prepare for any cyberthreats. This includes cyber-resilience tests with the help of “ethical hackers”. The hackers try to break into banks’ systems in order to identify any weaknesses.

9. The ECB is independent so it can act in your best interests

The ECB's independence means it can’t be swayed by short-term political considerations. Rather the ECB focus on what is best for the economy in the medium term, so people living in the euro area can enjoy stability.

10. The ECB is accountable to you

What the ECB does affects you – the millions of people and businesses in the euro area – and in particular, your decisions to save or invest, to borrow or lend. For this reason the ECB strives to explain it's actions to you and the ECB is legally obliged to account for them before your elected representatives in the European Parliament.

Source: European Central Bank

Published: 1 June 2018

Updated: 30 January 2021

The above presenation was created for educational purposes.

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