National Bank of Moldova (NBM) was established under Presidential Decree of the Republic of Moldova on June 4, 1991 with the appointment of Leonid Talmaci as the Governor of the NBM.
The primary objective of the National Bank of Moldova is to achieve and maintain price stability.
The basic attributions of the Bank are as follows:
to formulate and to promote the state monetary and foreign exchange policy;
to act as banker and fiscal agent of the state;
to license, supervise and regulate the activity of financial institutions;
to supervise the payment system of the Republic of Moldova and to facilitate the efficient functioning of the interbank payment system;
to issue the domestic currency;
to establish, through consultations with the Government, the foreign exchange regime of the national currency;
to manage foreign exchange reserves of the state;
to settle the balance of payments of the country;
to carry out the foreign exchange regulation on the territory of the Republic of Moldova, etc.
The National Bank of Moldova plays an important role in the process of transition of the Republic of Moldova to market economy. Since 1991, it has worked out and implemented a range of efficient measures directed towards the stability of the monetary and credit environment. The most important step was the introduction of the national currency - Moldovan Leu on November 29, 1993 and the further promotion of an anti-inflationary monetary and credit policy. Thus, the galloping inflation was stopped from the beginning of ‘90s.
In 1995 the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova approved the Law on the National Bank of Moldova and the Law on Financial Institutions. In accordance with the first Law, the National Bank of Moldova is independent in exercising its attributions and is responsible to the Parliament. The second Law has as target the formation of a strong and competitive financial sector, the prevention of an excessive risk and the protection of depositors' interests.
Starting with 1998, the National Bank of Moldova abandoned the practice of establishing the official exchange rate of the national currency against the U.S. dollar at the Foreign Currency Exchange and proceeded to calculate it based on the simple average of the weighted average exchange rates of the U.S. dollar purchases and sales against Moldovan Lei on the inter- and intra-bank markets. That fact allowed decentralizing the local foreign exchange market in accordance with the practices of developed countries.
Following the elimination of the excessive risks within banks and the creation of the necessary conditions for their financial stability maintenance, in July 2004, a deposit guarantee system has been established, by launching the Deposit Guarantee Fund in the banking system. The legal status of this Fund ensures its judicial, operational, financial and administrative independence. All banks licensed by the National Bank of Moldova must take part in the deposit guarantee system. The funds designed to guarantee bank deposits are accumulated from banks’ contributions.
Within the context of alignment with the international standards, the National Bank of Moldova implemented in 2006 a new automated interbank payment system (AIPS). It is composed of Real-time Gross Settlement System, aimed at processing a large-value and urgent payments and the Designated-time Net Settlement System, designed for processing a low-value payments. Thus, a modern infrastructure of payments was enforced, which created important prerequisites for the provision of payments of a new quality and for facilitating non-cash payments throughout the country.
Since November 6, 2009 the National Bank of Moldova has been governed by Dorin Drăguţanu, appointed by the Decision of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova no. 56-XIII.
At the end of 2009, the Council of Administration of the NBM adopted the Monetary Policy Strategy of the National Bank of Moldova for 2010-2012. According to it, NBM has initiated in 2010 the implementation of a new monetary policy regime - inflation targeting. Considering the instruments available to the monetary authorities, in the context of Moldova's economic realities and the experience of other central banks, the inflation targeting enables to achieve more efficiently the fundamental objective of the NBM - ensuring and maintaining price stability - stipulated by the Law on the National Bank of Moldova.
To improve the transmission mechanism of monetary policy actions, NBM decided to implement the inflation targeting regime. The system is based not only on historical and current developments in macroeconomic indicators but also their medium-term projections under various uncertainties and risks related to a small open economy. The fact in question allowed the available instruments to be used in time and with maximum effect.
The new monetary policy regime provides for the establishment of a quantitative target for inflation in the medium term with an acceptable range of variation and taking the necessary measures by the monetary authority to achieve this target under inflationary pressures arising from various internal and external economic shocks.
The legal framework governing banks has been substantially improved in 2010. Amendments and additions to the Law on financial institutions no. 550 of 21.07.1995 and Law on guaranteeing deposits of individuals in the banking system no. 575 of 26.12.2003 have been approved. These amendments are mainly intended to strengthen the problem solving opportunities for distressed banks, by establishing a new supervisory instrument for banks - special administration. This is a temporary regime which consists in working out of administrative, financial, legal and organizational measures, by a person designated by the National Bank of Moldova, intended to determine optimal conditions for preservation of assets, elimination of deficiencies in the management of the bank and its patrimony, debt collection, to establish the possibilities to remedy the financial situation, including restructuring or liquidation of the bank.
In addition, the aforementioned amendments create legal conditions for increasing the efficiency of liquidation of insolvent banks and honoring claims by depositors. For this purpose, it is provided for the reduction of terms for establishing the insolvent bank’s debt to individuals related to their deposits and for the beginning of the payment by the Deposit Guarantee Fund in the banking system of compensation for unavailable guaranteed deposits.
In order to minimize the risks related to the financial system, as a result of the impact of the global financial crisis of 2008 and with the purpose of achieving prompt action in case of unexpected financial shocks, the Government of the Republic of Moldova approved the establishment of a National Committee for Financial Stability on June 2, 2010. It consists of representatives with decision-making power of public authorities involved in crisis management, including the Governor of the National Bank of Moldova. The duties of the committee are focused on financial crises management, development of proposals on policies and measures to protect deposits, capitalization and recapitalization of banks, restoring confidence in banking system security, etc. The obligations and responsibilities of authorities involved in crisis management are provided for in the Memorandum of Understanding on Maintenance of Financial Stability, signed by the members of the National Committee for Financial Stability on February 28, 2011.