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Banking and Monetary System of the Republic of Belarus
The transformation of the centrally-planned economy into a market-type economy required that a finance and credit system be formed in the Republic on the basis of the transition from inherited previous mono-structure of monetary and credit institutions to two-step banking system with a clear division of functions between the central bank and commercial banks.
The first of these levels is represented by the National Bank which is the central bank of the Republic of Belarus having large powers. It is independent in its activities and is subordinate to the Parliament only.
The second level of the banking system is represented by commercial banks through which the monetary policy of Belarus is implemented.
According to the current legislation the commercial banks enjoy a high degree of independence in choosing the main spheres of their activities. As regards their form, the commercial banks may be both state-owned and non-state banks set up by founders (legal and physical persons) on a share or contribution basis.
The commercial banks of Belarus have been formed in two ways. The first way was to set up new commercial banks. On the 1st of January 1996, 40 commercial banks were registered in the Republic having universal forms of services. Out of them in 6 banks the control package is owned by founders with the state form of property, 33 banks are non-governmental.
Today the share of foreign subjects in the authorized capital of the entire banking system of Belarus does not exceed 10%. At present, in Belarus, there are banks which operate jointly with Russian capital and a bank with the Participation of Swiss and Latvian capitals; a number of subsidiaries and representations of foreign banks have been operated: KommertzBank Germany), Deposit-Credit Bank of Poland, and others. The Republic is a member of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. In February 1993 Belarus set up the Inter-Bank Currency Exchange which is the main instrument of the legal currency market.
The trades are performed in four main currencies: US dollar, Euro, Russian ruble and Ukrainian grivna. The National Bank established the official exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble in relation to the US dollar, Euro and the Russian ruble twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday, on the basis of the auction results. The exchange rates for other currencies are set through computations using the exchange rate of the US dollar at the main currency exchanges of the world. At present the country possesses a large network of offices for the exchange of cash currency.
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