National bank

For other uses, see National bank (disambiguation).
"The National Bank" redirects here. For the Norwegian band, see The National Bank (band).

In banking, the term national bank carries several meanings:

In the past, the term "national bank" has been used synonymously with "central bank", but it is no longer used in this sense today. Some central banks may have the words "National Bank" in their name; conversely if a bank is named in this way, it is not automatically considered a central bank. For example, National Bank of Canada of Montreal, Canada, is a privately owned commercial bank. On the other side, National Bank of Ethiopia is the central bank of Ethiopia and National Bank of Cambodia is the central bank of Cambodia.

Mainstream economics believe state-owned banks are inherently inefficient, however, case study research often demonstrate state banks are effective lenders and can work in the public good.[1]


Pashtany Bank is the government-owned bank in based in Kabul that controls Da Afghanistan Bank as well as the Afghan National Bank.


Argentina's national bank is the Banco de la Nación Argentina, founded in 1891.


The Commonwealth Bank of Australia was founded by an Australian Act of Parliament in 1911. Bank Nationalisation was the policy of the Andrew Fisher Labor Government. In a rare move for the time, the bank was to have both savings and general bank business. The bank was also the first bank in Australia to receive a Federal Government guarantee.

In 1958 and 1959, there was a controversy concerning the dual function of the bank as the central bank on the one hand and a general bank on the other. As a result of this, the bank was split, giving the reserve bank function to the Reserve Bank of Australia and the general bank function to the Commonwealth Banking Corporation.

The Commonwealth bank was privatised in the 1990s by the Keating Labor government. As of 2016, it is one of the big four banks, along with the National Australia Bank which has always been privately owned.


Bulgarian national bank was founded on 25.01.1879 and it is the 13 oldest central bank in the world. Its headquarter is in Sofia. BNB is an independent institution responsible for the issuance of national currency (the Bulgarian lev) and maintenance of the bank system's stability. The bank has a key role in Bulgarian economy. Since 1.01.2007 the bank is a member of European system of central banks. The governor of BNB is a member of General Assembly of European central bank. The bank has three departments:
- Issue Department - responsible to maintain the full foreign exchange cover of the total amount of monetary liabilities i.s. responsible for issuance of national currency;
-Banking department - in case of system risk, this department performs the lender of last resort function. This department performs the function of a monetary board, introduced in Bg, since 1997.
- Supervision Department - performs the supervision of the bank system.


For Canada's central bank see Bank of Canada. The National Bank of Canada is a privately owned bank unrelated to the central bank.


The national bank in Chile is BancoEstado. It was created in 1953 by merging several state-owned financial institutions. The bank operates in competition with private banks but in addition to profitability its goals include having a positive social impact.[2]


The national bank in Colombia is the Bank of the Republic. Its primary role is to control the flow of money inside and outside the country and to issue the Colombian currency, the peso.


Danmarks Nationalbank (English: Denmark's National Bank; in Danish often simply Nationalbanken) is the central bank of the Kingdom of Denmark.


The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development[3] (NABARD) is an Indian government development bank that was established on 18 July 1981 to implement the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act 1981.


Iran's national bank is Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran (CBI) (Persian: بانک مرکزی جمهوری اسلامی ايران, Bank Markazi Jomhouri Islami Iran). It was established in 1960.[4]


National Bank of Kenya is a commercial bank founded in 1968. Its shares are listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange and are majority owned (70%) jointly by the Government of Kenya and by the state owned National Social Security Fund of Kenya.[5][6]

New Zealand

Nationally owned banks

New Zealand currently has one state-owned bank, Kiwibank.

The New Zealand government formerly owned two other banks in New Zealand: The Bank of New Zealand, from 1945 to 1992 when it was privatised and sold, and Post Office Savings Bank, which was created as a separate entity with the privatisation of New Zealand Post. PostBank was sold to ANZ New Zealand in 1989.

National Bank of New Zealand

The National Bank of New Zealand was a retail bank which, in 2003, was purchased by ANZ from its former owner, Lloyds TSB. In 2013 it was rebranded as ANZ.


National Bank of Pakistan is a major bank in Pakistan.


The National Bank TNB is the leading bank in Palestine.


National Bank of Serbia is the state-owned central bank in Serbia which regulates the currency Serbian dinar.

United States

In the United States, the term national bank originally referred to the revolutionary-era Bank of North America, later, First Bank of the United States, or its successor the Second Bank of the United States. All are now defunct.

In the modern U.S. the term national bank has a precise meaning: a banking institution chartered and supervised by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency ("OCC"), an agency in the U.S. Treasury Department, pursuant to the National Bank Act. The inclusion of the word "National" in the bank's name or the designation "National Association" or its abbreviation "N.A." is a required part of the distinguishing legal title of a national bank, as in "Citibank, N.A." Many "state banks", by contrast, are chartered by the applicable state government (usually the state's department of banking). The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures deposits at both national and state banks.

The advantage of a National Bank Act charter is that a national bank is not subject to state usury laws intended to prevent predatory lending.[7] (However, see also Cuomo v. Clearing House Association, L. L. C., stating that federal banking regulations do not preempt the ability of states to enforce their own fair-lending laws.)[8] There is currently no federal cap on rates. The federal government only requires that whatever rates, fees or terms are set by issuers be disclosed to the consumer in accordance with the Truth in Lending Act.

Notwithstanding the name, not all "national banks" have nationwide operations. Some "national banks" have operations in only one city, county, or state. "National banks" should also be distinguished from federal savings associations (which include federal savings and loans, and federal savings banks, FSB), which are financial institutions chartered by the Office of Thrift Supervision, another agency in the U.S. Treasury Department which was dismembered by the 112th Congress and merged with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on July 21, 2012. The Federal Reserve is the United States' central bank; the Federal Reserve is not a "national bank" in American banking-law terminology, but rather a unique system of institutions specially chartered by Congress to serve in this capacity.


  1. Marois, Thomas (2016). "State-Owned Banks and Development: Dispelling Mainstream Myths". Handbook of Research on Comparative Economic Development Perspectives on Europe and the MENA Region: 52–72.
  5. Audited December 2012 Financial Report
  6. 70% Shareholding In National Bank of Kenya Is Jointly Owned By The Government and Kenya NSSF
  7. Beneficial National Bank v. Anderson, 539 U.S. 1 (2003).
  8. Cuomo v. Clearing House Association, L. L. C., 557 U.S. ___ (Supreme Court of the United States 2009).
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