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The Central Bank of The Bahamas

The Central Bank of The Bahamas was established on 1st June 1974, to carry out the independent monetary policy and financial sector supervisory functions entrusted upon The Bahamas after political independence from Great Britain in 1973. Prior to the establishment of the Bank, there was the Currency Board set up in 1919 which was restricted mainly to issuing currency. The Currency Board era spanned the early evolution of The Bahamas' emergence as an international banking centre during the 1960s, and the corresponding challenges posed by the inadequacies of legislation to properly regulate and supervise these activities. Although some relief was provided by the Banks and Trust Companies Regulation Act (1965), which enjoined stringent licensing and operating requirements on banks, it was felt that a more substantive institutional authority was required to oversee the rapidly expanding banking sector. In order to expand banking sector rapidly, Bahamas set up Bahamas Monetary Authority(BMA) in 1968. The BMA assumed the aggregate foreign exchange risks of the country by redeeming domestic banks' surplus foreign currency balances for Bahamian dollars, instituted a voluntary system of reserve requirements for clearing banks, and began auctioning Government Treasury bills as an alternative domestic investment for financial institutions. Still BMA was not legally authorised to employ active monetary policy measures and other weakness inherited by the BMA gave birth to Bahamian Central Bank.

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