Exchange Currency

National Bank of Romania

The National Bank of Romania (Romanian: Banca Naţională a României, BNR) is the central bank of Romania and was established in April 1880. It is located in the capital city, Bucharest. The bank's first governor was Ion Câmpineanu; the present governor is Mugur Isărescu.

Eugeniu Carada is associated to the National Bank, as he was the founder of the bank and he was elected director of the bank, but he never accepted the role of Governor. The National Bank of Romania is responsible for the issue of the Romanian leu and as such it sets the monetary policy, holds the currency reserves and manages the exchange rate.


The National Bank of Romania was commissioned on 11/23 April 1880 as a result of the Romanian liberal way of thinking centred on the idea of putting in place a solid credit system. The then Minister of Finance, Ion Campineanu, became the first governor, Eugeniu Carada-the true founder-together with Emil Costinescu were responsible for the organisation and functioning of the Mint, while Theodor Stefanescu was in charge of the accounting organisation of the Bank.

The start-up capital amounted to lei 30 million, of which lei 10 million was state owned. The NBR was first improperly accommodated in a small space on the premises of The Rural Estate Credit. As of 16th December, the state withdrew from the association with the NBR, which turned into a privileged privately-owned bank, and the government's rights passed on to the shareholders. The Bank was granted the prerogative to issue currency by 31st December 1920, subsequently extended to 31st December 1930.

Because of the war, the NBR moved to Jassy on 15th November 1916. The German military administration seized the Bank's head office and assets in Bucharest. On 14th November 1916, the NBR Treasury was moved to Jassy then sent to Russia under the protection and guarantees offered by the Russian Government.

The Romanian Government, the National Bank, as well as other central institutions moved back to Bucharest on 1st December 1918. In those hard times, the National Bank of Romania was the only support the state could use to restore the war-torn economy and unify the circulation of money.

The NBR undertook a reorganisation after 1924. A law enacted in 1925 extended the Bank's prerogative of issuing currency for another thirty years and provided for a capital increase, from lei 30 million to lei 100 million. Moreover, the state rejoined the shareholding structure.

During the Great Depression in 1929-1933, the NBR granted loans in an effort to balance the government budget; this operation continued into the next years. The Bank's powers and role in the field of finance had been steadily growing to such an extent that it was empowered to control the banking activity, the circulation of foreign exchange, and to map out the country's financial and monetary policies.

After the communist regime seized power (6th March 1945), the banks came under state ownership in two stages: first, Communist Party members forced their way into the NBR Board on 28th November and second, banks and credit institutions were dissolved and wound up, except for the NBR and the CEC (The Savings House), on 11th August 1948.

In 1990, the National Bank of Romania has embarked upon the bumpy path of resuming the operations it had performed before 1946.


The National Bank of Romania is run by the Board of Directors, which is made up of nine members appointed by Parliament for a 5-year mandate that may be renewed. Members of the Board may not be members of Parliament and according to the law, they may not be Court officials or public servants. Out of the nine members, four members are senior executives of the NBR, i.e. the Governor, the first deputy governor, and two deputy governors. The other five members of the Board are not on the payroll of the NBR. The chairman of the Board is the Governor of the NBR.

The Board of Directors is the decision-making body of the NBR, which sets the monetary and exchange rate policies, the measures relating to authorization, regulation and prudential supervision of credit institutions; it also oversees the payment systems, establishes the internal organisation structure and assigns the tasks to the executives and to the staff of the NBR .

In order to ensure effectiveness of the decision-making process, the following four operational bodies are responsible for the performance of the main tasks of a central bank: the Monetary Policy Committee, the Supervisory Committee, the Foreign Reserve Management Committee, and the Audit Committee.

The Monetary Policy Committee is a decision-making body made up of 9 members and is chaired by the NBR Governor. The Committee is responsible for monetary policy decisions (strategy, objectives and guidelines) and takes operational decisions necessary to ensuring the enhancement of monetary policy effectiveness and of its operational framework, and to bringing it in line with the ECB requirements.

The Supervisory Committee is composed of 10 members and is chaired by the NBR Governor. The tasks and responsibilities of this Committee are related to the assessment and monitoring of credit institutions asset quality, financial performance and observance of prudential indicators as well as to ensuring the regulatory framework according to the specific legislation and international practices in the field.

The Foreign Reserve Management Committee is made up of 11 members and is headed by the NBR Governor. The basic tasks of this Committee are related to the implementation of the guidelines adopted by the Board in the field. The Committee sets forth the list of entities participating in transactions, the bond issuers, the assets eligible for investment, takes decisions concerning the appropriateness of using derivatives, analyses market developments and formulates proposals for the strategy to be implemented in the period ahead.

The Audit Committee analyses and proposes the NBR's policy and strategies as regards internal control, risk management, and internal and external audit. The Committee is made up of the 5 non-executive Board members.

Monetary Policy

Pursuant to its Statute, the primary objective of the National Bank of Romania is to ensure and maintain price stability. Furthermore, without prejudice to its primary objective, the National Bank of Romania supports the general economic policy of the Government.

According to Art.2 of Law 312/2004, one of the main tasks of the National Bank of Romania is to define and implement the monetary policy and the exchange rate policy. In addition, with a view to attaining its primary objective, the central bank defines the monetary policy strategy and decides on the actual instruments and procedures to be used in conducting monetary policy.

Financial Stability

The National Bank of Romania has an important role in maintaining financial stability, attributable to its capacity to act as a monetary and supervisory authority. Financial stability objectives are served while performing its regulatory and supervisory functions, the conduct and efficient transmission of the monetary policy, as well as, while overseeing the smooth functioning of the systemically important payment and settlement systems.

Risks and vulnerabilities identifying and assessing is an ongoing process for the financial system as a whole and its component parts, because the financial stability monitoring has a preventive scope. The occurring and development of malfunctions, inappropriate risk assessment and inefficient capital allocation can affect the economic and financial stability.

The co-operation between the National Bank of Romania and the other sectorial financial supervisors went through several stages and intensified as required by financial system developments. Overall, the Romanian financial system has become much more dynamic and complex in the past few years, leading to intertwining at institutional level.

These developments called for the co-operation among the authorities in charge of licensing, regulating, supervising and controlling the component markets of the financial system in order to ensure the transparency, stability and integrity of the financial system and its component markets, the compliance with the applicable legal framework, as well as the expansion of the national financial stability framework.

Payment Systems

Payment and settlement systems have become particularly important worldwide over the past decades, owing to the increase in both the volume and value of commercial and financial transactions (on money and forex markets) amid globalization and free movement of capital.

Likewise, at national level, along with Romania's joining the European Union and the expansion of the economy, the volume of payment transactions increased significantly, while economic agents showed a stronger interest in the existence of efficient and safe payment systems.

The NBR, as any other central bank, is interested in the prudent design and management of payment and settlement systems in the domestic currency. Thus, the NBR attaches a particular importance to the smooth functioning of these systems, as well as to the minimization of potential risks associated with their operation.

The smooth operation of payment and settlement systems is vital for ensuring a strong national currency and for successfully implementing the central bank's monetary policy, for the good functioning of financial markets and for maintaining the stability of the entire financial and banking system.

The statutory task of the National Bank of Romania is to promote the smooth functioning of payment systems in its capacity as Romania's central bank (Art. 2 para. (2) letter b) of Law No. 312/2004 on the Statute of the National Bank of Romania) and as a member of the European System of Central Banks (Art. 105 para. (2) of the Treaty establishing the European Community and Art. 3 of the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank).

The NBR fulfils this task by:

  • providing settlement means for payments and securities; thus, the NBR runs a payment system for large-value payments in lei (ReGIS), a payment system for large-value payments in Euro (TARGET2-România), as well as a central depository and securities settlement system (SaFIR);
  • supervising payment and securities settlement systems; thus, the NBR sets forth standards with a view to ensuring sound and efficient systems for processing transactions in RON and assesses the systems' compliance with these standards;
  • cooperating with the national authorities, the European System of Central Banks, the European Central Bank, as well as with any other relevant international bodies, with a view to ensuring a regulatory and supervisory framework of payment and securities settlement systems harmonized with international standards;
  • acting as a catalyst for change; the NBR promotes efficiency across payment systems and the infrastructures adjustment to SEPA requirements.

International Relations

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Romania has been a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) since 1972. At present, Romania's quota equals SDR 1,030.2 million, or 0.47 percent of total quota. Romania's voting power in the IMF is 10,552 votes, or 0.48 percent of total.

Within the IMF, Romania is part of a constituency including the Netherlands, Ukraine, Israel, Cyprus, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Bulgaria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, and Montenegro. The constituency is represented in the Executive Board by an executive director, Age Bakker from the Netherlands, whose staff includes a representative of Romania, serving as an adviser.

Romania's Governor at the IMF is the Governor of the National Bank of Romania; his Alternate Governor is the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Public Finance with responsibilities in the field.

On March 25, 1998, Romania accepted the obligations under Article VIII of the IMF's Articles of Agreement on current account convertibility, thereby committing itself neither to impose restrictions on payments and transfers pertaining to current international transactions, nor to engage in discriminatory foreign exchange arrangements or multiple foreign exchange practices, without the IMF's approval/consultation.

Starting 1991, the financial assistance granted by the IMF has materialized in the approval of eight Stand-by Arrangements. On May 4, 2009 the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved Romania's request for a 24-month Stand-By Arrangement in the amount of SDR 11.4 billion (about EUR 12.9 billion or US$17.1 billion) and the disbursement of the first installment of SDR 4.37 billion (about EUR 4.9 billion or US$6.6 billion).

The IMF has provided Romania with technical assistance in several areas, including monetary policy and central bank organisation, banking supervision and statistics.

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)

Romania became an IBRD member in 1972, thereby assuming the provisions of Resolution No. 280/28 November 1972 of the Board of Governors, laying down the membership terms and conditions. At present, Romania holds 4,011 shares in the IBRD's equity capital, and subscribed USD 30.5 million in the IBRD's capital stock.

According to Government Decision No.34/1997, Romania's Governor at the IBRD is the Minister of Public Finance; his Alternate Governor is the deputy governor of the National Bank of Romania.

The World Bank's activity in Romania was resumed in 1991.

The Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for 2006-2009 envisages for Romania a maximum assistance amount ranging from USD 450 million to USD 550 million.

During 1991-2007, the World Bank provided Romania with assistance worth USD 5.6 billion, of which USD 5.5 billion in loans and USD 100 million in grants, with 24 projects under implementation in a total amount of USD 1,832.6 million. In 2007, Romania was granted USD 133.1 million for agricultural sector development and pollution control by making a combined use of chemical and natural fertilisers.

The World Bank's assistance focused on three major areas, as follows:

  • fostering the expansion of the private sector, as the driver of economic growth;
  • strengthening some public-sector institutions and improving governance;
  • reducing poverty and improving social security.

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

In 1990, Romania ratified the Agreement Establishing the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in its capacity as a founder member of the above-mentioned institution. Romania's subscription to the EBRD's equity capital amounts to EUR 96 million.

The EBRD's Board of Governors includes representatives of all member countries. Romania's Governor at the EBRD is the Minister of Public Finance and the Alternate Governor is the Governor of the National Bank of Romania.

Romania is part of a constituency including Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan.

The latest Country Strategy for Romania (2004-2006) was approved in December 2005 for a 2-year period and that for the next period is due for approval in April 2008. This document is subject to revision every two years.

Romania ranks third in terms of funds granted by the EBRD (after the Russian Federation and Poland).

From 1991 until end-2007, the EBRD granted Romania assistance totaling EUR 3.54 billion (representing 248 signed agreements), of which 65 percent were intended for supporting the private sector, 75 percent were borrowings and 25 percent were equity investments. During the implementation of the latest Country Strategy for Romania (December 2005-December 2007), the volume of the business of the 58 new projects increased by EUR 601 million, the equivalent of a 22 percent rise. In the course of 2007 the EBRD and Romania signed 29 projects totaling an annual volume of the business worth EUR 336 million.

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

The National Bank of Romania became a member of the Bank for International Settlements ever since 1930 (when the BIS was established), counting among the 55 central bank members. The NBR holds 8,564 shares worth SDR 42.82 million in the BIS equity capital for which dividends are paid on a yearly basis.

After 1990, Romania has been granted technical assistance by the BIS in order to consolidate its functions as a central bank.

Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB)

Romania signed the Agreement Establishing the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank on December 30, 1994 and subscribed SDR 135 million (13.5 percent) in the share capital stock of the Bank.

At end-2007, the Bank reported 11 agreements, two regional finance funds and a guarantee issued for Banca Românească. The agreements amounted to a cumulative value of USD 85.79 million and EUR 28 million.

Moreover, the Board of Directors approved the new Country Strategy for Romania for 2007-10. From an operational perspective, the top priorities will be large- and medium-sized enterprises manufacturing goods for exports, along with infrastructure and the financial sector.

European Investment Bank (EIB)

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the European Union's financing institution, established by the Treaty of Rome in 1958 with the aim of providing long-term financial assistance for specific capital projects, thus supporting European integration.

Romania became a member of the EIB on 1 January 2007, once the country joined the EU.

The institution's medium-term policy, including the operational priorities, is to be found in "The Corporate Operational Plan", a strategic document approved by the Board of Governors on 20 November 2007 for 2008-10.

According to the Lisbon Strategy, the Bank provides extensive assistance to investment in technology, networks, R&D and innovation activities, under the special programme titled "The Innovation 2010 Initiative".

Upgrading and expanding the Trans-European infrastructure, especially transport corridors, is of the essence for Romania's integration into the EU's single market. The EIB also grants loans for supporting projects aimed at improving environment protection.

From 1991 to end-2007, the EIB and Romania concluded 70 loan agreements for a cumulative value of EUR 5,105.7 million. In 2007, the EIB ensured financing for Romania through 5 projects (in services, municipal utilities, industry, loans extended via commercial banks, etc.) in a total amount of EUR 172,223,500.

Useful links

Currency of Romania:
Romanian leu
List of Central Banks:
Central Banks
Official website of National Bank of Romania:
Ministry of Public Finance of Romania: