BANK OF ITALY
The Bank of Italy is the central bank of the Republic of Italy and part of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) and the Eurosystem. It is a public-law institution and pursues aims of general interest in monetary and financial matters: price stability, the primary objective of the Eurosystem under the Treaty establishing the European Community (the EC Treaty); the stability and efficiency of the financial system, thus implementing the principle of the protection of savings embodied in the Constitution (Article 47(1) “The Republic encourages and protects saving in all its forms, it regulates, coordinates and controls the provision of credit”); and the other duties entrusted to it by Italian law.
In performing its tasks, the Bank operates autonomously and independently, in compliance with the principle of transparency and the applicable provisions of Community and Italian law.
Consistently with the public nature of its functions and aware of the importance of its tasks and responsibilities, the Bank prepares information and data for maximum dissemination.
Functions and Governance
The Bank of Italy’s functional and governance arrangements are based on a variety of different legal sources: Community law, which regulates the activity of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB), the provisions of banking and financial law concerning its supervisory powers, other provisions governing its relations with the Ministry for the Economy and Finance and other authorities, and its Statute.
Within the Eurosystem, of which it is an integral part, the Bank contributes to monetary policy decisions through the participation of the Governor in the Governing Council of the European Central Bank and of its experts in the Eurosystem committees and working groups that perform the necessary technical analysis. ?It performs these functions under Article 105 of the EC Treaty and Article 3 of the Statute of the European System of Central Banks.
At national level, an indirect reference to the Bank’s functions can be found in the aforementioned Article 47(1) of the Constitution.The main legal sources concerning the Bank’s functions and organization are:
?Legislative Decree 385/1993 (the Consolidated Law on Banking);?
Legislative Decree 58/1998 (the Consolidated Law on Finance);?
Legislative Decree 43/1998, which adapts Italian law to the provisions of the EC Treaty on monetary policy and the European System of Central Banks;?
Law 262/2005, containing provisions for the protection of savings and the regulation of financial markets;?
Legislative Decree 303/2006, containing provisions coordinating the Consolidated Law on Banking and the Consolidated Law on Finance with Law 262/2005;?
the Bank’s new Statute, approved by a Decree of the President of the Republic dated 12 December 2006.
The Bank's organizational structure reflects the three levels at which it operates: international, national and local. The Head Office draws up and implements the strategic, management and operational policies.
At the national level, the Bank is organized in branches located in the regional capitals and in some provincial capitals. Their activities relate to the State treasury service, banking and financial supervision, banknote circulation, payment system services and economic analysis and statistical surveys at the local level.
The Bank has representative offices in London, New York and Tokyo; a number of officers are seconded as financial attachés to some Italian embassies and consulates.
The Bank of Italy is currently undergoing a general reorganization designed to enhance the quality, economy and efficiency of the services it provides to the country, in line with the changing economic and financial landscape and with the opportunities offered by technological innovation. This reorganization, involving the Head Office, the branches, and the representative offices abroad, began in 2007 and is now nearing completion.
Members of the Directorate (Governing Board)
The Directorate (Governing Board) is a collegial body, subject to Articles 21, 22 and 23 of the Statute, that includes the Governor, the Director General and the three Deputy Directors General, and that is authorized to adopt measures of external significance regarding the exercise of the public functions entrusted by law to the Bank in pursuit of its aims, other than decisions falling under the authority of the ESCB.
Resolutions are passed by an absolute majority of those present; where the numbers in a division are equal, the Governor has the casting vote. Minutes are kept of meetings.
Currently, the Governing Board is composed of Ignazio Visco, Governor; Fabrizio Saccomanni, Director General; Giovanni Carosio, Anna Maria Tarantola and Salvatore Rossi, Deputy Directors General.
After national unification in 1861, Italy remained economically behind the leading European countries. Per capita GDP was less than half that of the UK and a little over half of the French figure. The banking system was composed of small individual banks, a small number of public institutions and a few banks of issue; banknote circulation was sparse.?The banks of issue had been established in the pre-unity states during the first half of the nineteenth century. United Italy had a single currency (the Italian lira, created by the Pepoli Law of 1862) but fragmented banknote circulation, because almost all of the banks of issue operating in the old states had maintained their right to issue their own banknotes in the new Kingdom of Italy: Banca Nazionale nel Regno d’Italia (which resulted from the merger of Banca di Genova and Banca di Torino) in the North; Banca Nazionale Toscana in the Centre, and flanked in 1863 by Banca Toscana di credito per le industrie e il Commercio; Banco di Napoli and Banco di Sicilia in the South. The number of banks of issue rose to six when, after the annexation of Rome in 1870, the Bank of the Papal States became Banca Romana. All of these banks issued lira banknotes, convertible into gold, and were in competition with one another. Two, Banco di Napoli and Banco di Sicilia, were public, the others private; all were supervised by the State. The end of convertibility, in 1866, caused banknote circulation to surpass metallic currency.?The first law of the newly unified State on banknote issuance was enacted in 1874. This law specifically identified the six institutions authorized to issue banknotes and thereby created a legalized and regulated oligopoly. That is, a single bank of issue was not established, largely because of the strength of regional interests that did not want to deny themselves a local issuing bank. ?As bank deposits were not common, the principal source of funds for lending was the issuance of banknotes. In effect, by accepting these banknotes the public provided credit to the issuing banks, which in turn provided credit to their clients. It was only in the 1870s that non-issuing banks (i.e. banks analogous to those we know today) began to be founded, such as Credito Mobiliare and Banca Generale, with nationwide coverage and international contacts. In this context, the banks of issue retained an important role. Mainly by discounting bills, they made an essential contribution to the financing of production and investment, helped to combat usury and favoured thoroughgoing transformation of Italy into a monetary economy.?The return to convertibility, decreed in 1881 and put into practice in 1883, marked the beginning of a short-lived illusion; euphoria caused economic overheating, to which the appropriate policy response was not forthcoming. By 1887, de facto, the lira was again non-convertible. The building boom triggered by the new national capital, Rome, and fuelled partly by foreign investment, also involved the banks of issue. Overexpansion brought a speculative bubble, followed by crisis. The banking crisis of the early 1890s, coupled with a foreign exchange crisis, took on a scandalous political and judicial dimension in December 1892, when the unsustainable situation of the banks of issue was revealed, and especially the grave irregularities committed by Banca Romana, until then kept secret by the government.? In an extremely difficult situation, and after a series of bitter political battles, the country found the strength to respond. Sidney Sonnino’s idea of radically refounding the system of banknote issue was discarded, and the line taken by Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti prevailed. The law of 1893 introduced new regulations for issuing banknotes and led to the foundation of the Bank of Italy, with the merger of three existing institutions, Banca Nazionale and the two Tuscan banks; it was headed by Director General Giacomo Grillo. Banca Romana was liquidated, while the Southern banks of issue continued in business.
The Bank of Italy from its inception to the 1936 Banking Law
The 1893 Banking Law (Law 449 of 10 August 1893) instituting the Bank of Italy was fundamental. It redefined banknote circulation to base it on gold (more precisely: 40 per cent of notes issued had to be covered by gold reserves) and placed an absolute limit on issues. It created the conditions for restoring the health of the issuing banks. It began the transition towards a single bank of issue and it established rules whereby the public interest took precedence over the profits of private shareholders (for example: government approval for the appointment of the head of the Bank of Italy - the Director General - and for changes to the discount rate).? During these years, Giuseppe Marchiori, Director General from 1894 to 1900, steadily emarginated private shareholder interests and affirmed the Bank’s pursuit of public purposes. Yet, the Bank remained a private company, issuing banknotes under concession. ?A very significant role in the development of the Bank was played by Bonaldo Stringher, who was appointed Director General in 1900. In the Giolitti era, the Bank was able to reconcile (given a favourable economic climate) financial and exchange rate stability with support to economic activity. In 1902, the old parity between the lira and gold was reached; from then on Italy behaved as if it adhered to the gold standard, but, having learned from previous crises, did not officially declare the convertibility of the currency. In 1906, the Bank of Italy conducted the fair conversion of pre-existing irredeemable government bonds. Through this success, the Bank confirmed its role as banker and hence as advisor to the government, in addition to the role of treasurer. ?In parallel with the economic revival and industrialization, the credit system had changed: during the crisis of 1893-94 - which saw the failure of the largest two industrial credit banks - a new system evolved in which the bulk of credit business began to pass from the three surviving banks of issue (Banca d’Italia, Banco di Napoli and Banco di Sicilia) to the large mixed banks recently founded (Banco di Roma, Banca Commerciale Italiana and Credito Italiano). ?In 1907, the Bank of Italy intervened effectively to prevent a serious financial crisis, reinforcing its role as lender of last resort and consolidating its reputation. To facilitate this work, the system of monetary circulation was made more flexible with a law passed at the end of the year. The need for supervision of the banking system began to be felt. ?On the eve of World War I, the Bank of Italy held a central position within the national financial system, thanks to the importance of its credit for the economy, its action to guarantee financial stability, its consolidation of the gold reserve and its assistance to the Treasury in public debt management.
During World War I, the Bank assisted the Treasury massively: with direct credit, with help in arranging domestic war loans and with the management of foreign financial operations. The link between the lira and gold was abandoned and the state monopoly of foreign exchange was instituted.?With war’s end, problems of reconversion to civilian uses threw many sectors of industry into crisis, and with them the credit institutions that had financed them, to the point of causing major banking failures. The Bank of Italy, with government approval, intervened with massive salvage operations. The foreign exchange monopoly was ended, but in the new circumstances a return to monetary normalcy was impossible. The existing instruments for the control of the money supply in being proved to be totally ineffective. Within the country and at international level, the question under debate was how to return to a system based upon gold. Italy took a conservative stance, in favour of the classic gold standard. ?In a slightly inflationary situation, the Fascist government revalued the lira in 1926, thereby deflating the economy. As part of the monetary stabilization plan and the return to the gold standard (effected by the Bank of Italy notwithstanding Stringher’s doubts regarding the strong risk of deflation), within three years important reforms were made. The Bank of Italy was given the monopoly on banknote issue and assigned to manage the clearing houses, central nodes of a modern payment system. A law was enacted to protect savings. Banks’ new special obligations were established, including a minimum capital requirement. The Bank of Italy was given new powers of control, the kernel being supervision of the banking system. The reforms were completed in 1927-28 with the fixing of a new gold parity for the lira and the re-establishment of convertibility into gold or convertible foreign currency (gold exchange standard), the introduction of the obligation to maintain a gold or hard currency reserve of at least 40 per cent of the money in circulation, and the redefinition of relations with the Treasury.? As a result of these provisions, the Bank, abandoning its old role of “bank of issue”, became a true central bank and overseer of the credit system. The Bank’s fundamental character as a public institution was reinforced. In 1928, a new Statute was approved, creating the post of Governor at the top of the Directorate (composed of Governor, Director General and Deputy Director General). Responsibility for setting the discount rate passed from the Executive Board to the Governor, still subject to government approval.
After Stringher’s death in 1930, the Governorship passed to Vincenzo Azzolini, who arrived from the Treasury.? At the depth of the Great Depression, the devaluation of sterling (in September 1931) and most other currencies was tantamount to a further revaluation of the lira. The deflationary effect of Italian policy was accentuated, with severe repercussions on economic activity and the financial system. The State and the central bank saved the major commercial banks from collapse, their assets swollen with ever more devalued equity holdings. The Bank of Italy found itself with severely illiquid assets, and was thus unable to conduct operations. The response was first the creation of Istituto Mobiliare Italiano (IMI) to provide medium and long-term financing and then the Institute for Industrial Reconstruction (Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale - IRI), which purchased equity holdings of the ailing banks and took a controlling stake in the banks themselves. In the mid-1930s, the tensions that would lead to World War II were foreshadowed in the monetary and currency sphere with the de facto termination of the convertibility of the lira and in the suspension of the gold reserve requirement (which was never to be reinstated).? In the context of preparations for war (the invasion of Ethiopia started in 1935) and under IRI, the Banking Law was drafted. The first part of the Law, which is still in force, defined the Bank of Italy as “a public law institution” and entrusted it definitively with the function of monetary issue (no longer just a concession); individual shareholdings were expropriated and equity was reserved to financial institutions of public relevance; the Bank was prohibited from discounting bills itself to non-banks, underscoring its function as banker to banks. A second part of the law (repealed almost completely in 1993) concerned credit and financial supervision, totally revamping the credit system via a separation between banking and industry and between short- and long-term credit; it determined that banking was an activity of public interest; it concentrated supervision in the Inspectorate for the defence of savings and the exercise of credit (a newly created state body), chaired by the Governor and using resources and personnel of the Bank of Italy, but directed by a ministerial committee chaired by the Prime Minister. ?Aware of the new developments in economics and the challenge posed by a world in the throes of violent change, Governor Azzolini initiated the creation of a modern research service, taking on professional economists. ?At the end of 1936, the long-awaited devaluation of the lira stimulated economic recovery and improved the balance of payments. At the same time, by a simple ministerial decree, all limits on State borrowing from the Central Bank were abolished. The autonomy of the Bank was at its nadir.
World War II and post-war monetary stabilization
World War II - with the country divided, combat throughout most of Italy and foreign occupation - inflicted substantial damage on the national economy. The lira fell to a thirtieth of its pre-war value (by comparison, during World War I it had fallen to one fifth of its initial value).?The Bank of Italy, like the country?s other institutions, experienced some dramatic moments. Its administration was split in two. Separate commissioners were installed, one in the Nazi-occupied North, in the Social Republic, and another under the Allies in the South, in the Kingdom of Italy. The appointment of Luigi Einaudi as Governor (in January 1945) laid the basis for the return to normality at war’s end.? The reconversion to a civilian economy, though difficult, did not cause instability for banks, as it had at the end of World War I, because, thanks to the 1936 reform, they did not have substantial non-liquid assets. But the situation of the lira was much more worrying and the end of 1946 saw the re-emergence of runaway inflation.? The restoration of monetary stability, achieved between 1945 and 1948 with a sound, consistent plan, had four essential points. The first was halting inflation. In the summer of 1947, the compulsory reserve mechanism was refined and targeted to the needs of monetary control. The power to vary the reserve ratio was assigned to a new body, the Interministerial Committee for Credit and Savings (Comitato Interministeriale per il Credito e il Risparmio - CICR), chaired by the Treasury Minister. The reform, clearly specifying the determination of the monetary authorities to put an end to inflation, affected expectations and cut off the rise in prices. The second point was the re-establishment of a limit to the monetary financing of the State: in May 1948 the overdraft on the Treasury’s current account at the central bank was limited to 15 per cent of budgeted State spending. The third point was joining the international financial community: in October 1946 Italy was admitted to the Bretton Woods institutions. The liberalization of trade and foreign exchange began, and after the devaluation of November 1947 the two-tier foreign exchange market disappeared. The Italian Foreign Exchange Office was formed to handle foreign currency transactions. Italy would later become part of the European Payments Union, created in 1950. The fourth point was the reorganization of banking supervision: after the abolition of the banking inspectorate, created in 1936, the supervisory function was assigned to the Bank of Italy; political responsibility was entrusted to the CICR, whose meetings were attended by the Governor as head of its technical arm.?The protection of savings was enshrined in the new constitution of 1948, Article 47. The strengthening of the lira, to which Director General Donato Menichella contributed greatly, laid the foundations for the non-inflationary growth of the successive period.? From the aftermath of the war to the early 1950s, the actions of the Bank of Italy were essential to attracting and managing the international aid (Interim Aid, Marshall Plan and World Bank) that served to bring Italy out of emergency and to kick-start reconstruction.
From the 1950s to Maastricht
For Italy, the 1950s was a time of sustained economic development in a context of monetary stability. The choice of international opening, which introduced salutary competitive stimulus into the economy, was consolidated by membership in the European Economic Community (1957) and the introduction (1958) of convertibility of the lira into other currencies for non-residents (external convertibility).? The Bank, headed by Donato Menichella (who had succeeded Einaudi in 1948, when the latter became President of the Republic), aimed to maintain the long-term conditions for investment. It took direct interest in problems of economic development and of Southern Italy without ever abandoning monetary control. The instruments of monetary policy consisted of discount rates and central bank advances - which, however, held stable for eight years from 1950 to 1958 - and control of credit, in part through moral suasion. Periodically, excess liquidity was mopped up via bond issues.? Banking supervision was directed primarily to avoiding the repetition of episodes of asset illiquidity. An effort was made to align the structure of the banking system with industry: hence the encouragement of smaller banks, presumed to be more closely tied to small businesses (localism). In 1960, Guido Carli was named Governor of the Bank. In the years that followed, the economic structure of the country was gradually transformed. More and more the role of the credit system was to reallocate resources between consumption and investment and between the public and private sectors. From the mid-1960s onwards, monetary policy was oriented to stabilizing security prices, to facilitate the placement of issues and thereby encourage investment.?The Research Department perfected its analytical instruments, most notably with the construction of the Bank of Italy?s econometric model and the realization of the “financial accounts”.? As regards the credit system, for the first time since the 1930s banking mergers were encouraged, in order to enhance technical efficiency, but definitely excluding a return to universal banking. The Central Credit Register was established.
The 1960s ended in the midst of serious economic difficulties. The end of the Bretton Woods System (August 1971), the switch to floating exchange rates and the sharp rise in oil prices ushered in a long period in which two evils previously considered antitheses coexisted: stagnation and inflation. ?Inflation in Italy was notably higher than the average for the other industrial countries. Between 1973 and 1984, the rate was never below 10 per cent. In addition to world price rises, Italian inflation had major domestic causes: severe labour market tensions, an increase in public expenditure without a corresponding increase in revenue and lack of competition. An important role was also played by the removal of the discipline of fixed exchange rates. ?The policy of stabilizing securities prices became too onerous and was abandoned. In order to sustain investment and at the same time keep a check on domestic demand, while containing rises in interest rates, in 1973 administrative credit control measures (a ceiling on bank lending and portfolio constraints) and foreign exchange controls were introduced. Monetary policy in Italy, as in the other industrial countries, tended to be restrictive and to focus on explicitly announced medium-term target aggregates (total domestic credit).? In 1975, Carli left the governorship to be replaced by Paolo Baffi, who had been Director General since 1960. During the foreign exchange crisis of 1976, the Bank made the lending ceiling more constraining and tightened foreign exchange controls to make the restrictive measures more effective.?The Bank repeatedly underscored the costs and limitations of this set of policy tools. Action was begun to enhance the ability to conduct monetary policy through the market, especially via the buying and selling of securities (open market operations). To this end, in 1975, the first steps were taken to create a true money market, with procedural changes in the issue of Treasury bills and a reform of compulsory reserves.? In December 1978, Italy joined the European Monetary System, negotiating a broad fluctuation band for the lira of 6 per cent above or below the central rate, while the other participating countries had a narrower band of plus or minus 2.25 per cent, because Italy’s inflation differential, though narrower, was still substantial. ?Supervisory action sought to encourage the capital strengthening of banks, to improve their by-laws and organization, and to broaden the scope for competition. In the second part of the decade, on-site inspections became more extensive and analytical techniques were perfected. To meet the growing need for international supervisory cooperation, the Basel Agreement was signed in 1983. ?In 1979, the leadership of the Bank of Italy was struck down by a judicial initiative regarding banking supervision. Although the action subsequently proved to have been completely groundless, Governor Baffi was incriminated and Deputy Director General Mario Sarcinelli arrested. The events were a difficult test for the Bank. Thanks to the general demonstration of solidarity on the part of qualified opinion, both Italian and international, and the independence and prestige of the Bank and its staff, the institution weathered the crisis. ?Paolo Baffi chose to resign in October 1979 and was replaced by Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, who had been appointed Director General in 1978 following a long career in the Bank.
The second oil shock of 1979-80 again caused prices to rise, but three factors helped foster a process of disinflation and the restructuring of industry. In 1979, the European Monetary System began operating, accompanied by an unaccommodating monetary policy stance, which reinforced the real exchange rate of the lira. In 1981, the Bank of Italy gained full autonomy to decide whether or not to purchase Treasury bills not taken up by brokers at auctions (the so-called “divorce”). Wage moderation was produced by the surge in unemployment and the weakening of wage indexation. Real interest rates returned to positive values. ?The drive begun in the second half of the 1970s to enhance the effectiveness of monetary control through market instruments was continued. At last, with the introduction of an efficient auction system for issuing Treasury bills and a functioning interbank deposit market, a true money market came into being. In 1987, the inflation rate reached a low of 4.7 per cent and in 1990 the lira moved into the “narrow band” of the EMS. However, inflation turned up again to 6.5 per cent in 1990, owing among other things to unresolved structural problems. The deficit of the current account of the balance of payments became worrying and investments declined. The rehabilitation of the Italian economy, that is, was still partial and fragile.?The Single European Act in February 1986 laid down the stages of the process for the removal of the remaining trade barriers dividing EU national markets. Six years later, in February 1992, the Treaty of Maastricht was signed, forming the basis for the single currency and the European System of Central Banks. In 1990, the completion of liberalization had brought an end to foreign exchange controls, which had been in place in Italy, in one form or another since 1934. This facilitated the international integration of the Italian economy and the financial system. ?In the 1980s, the supervision of the Bank of Italy was extended to non-bank intermediaries, albeit only for matters impinging on the stability of the financial system. The Bank began the transition from “structural” supervision (which used powers of authorization to shape the structure of system) to “prudential” supervision, based principally on general rules of conduct. In 1990, three fundamental laws were passed: one on commercial banks and groups (called the “Amato-Carli” law), one on securities business, and one on safeguarding competition. The first established a level playing field for bank operators, specifying the joint stock company as the general model for banking business, laid a basis for the privatization of banks, and regulated credit groups. The second regulated securities intermediaries and stock markets. The third introduced antitrust principles and instruments.? During the same years, the Bank of Italy set the objective of improving the integrity and efficiency of payments services. The national clearing system and the transactions on banks’ accounts at the Bank of Italy were completely computerized. The screen-based Interbank Deposit Market (Mercato Interbancario dei Depositi - MID) was launched.
The Treaty of Maastricht set strict convergence parameters for countries intending to join the Economic and Monetary Union. The calendar for monetary union was fixed: a first stage of economic and institutional convergence; a second stage of regulatory and procedural harmonization to prepare for the implementation of a common monetary policy, envisaging the creation of the European Monetary Institute, the precursor to the European Central Bank, in 1994; and a third stage, beginning in 1999, for the actual launch of the single currency.?In the summer of 1992, the different economic policy stances of the United States and Germany, coupled with uncertainty regarding ratification of the Treaty of Maastricht, triggered a foreign exchange crisis that hit many countries. The lira was devalued by around 20 per cent.?In 1993, Antonio Fazio, Deputy Director General, succeeded to the governorship when Carlo Azeglio Ciampi was named Prime Minister (he was later made President of the Republic).? In Italy, the crisis prompted a vigorous reaction. First, the public finances were put in order by way of substantial cuts in expenditure and above all increases in revenue. In the summer of 1994, a monetary tightening inaugurated a period of rigour. In 1995, a year that saw another foreign exchange crisis, the discount rate reached 9 per cent. The resolute action of the Bank of Italy in these years helped to reduce inflation expectations. Price rises having been curbed, in 1996 monetary conditions were eased. Renewed confidence, both domestically and internationally, permitted a reduction in long-term interest rates and led to a drastic cut in interest payments on the public debt; so monetary policy contributed significantly to public financial adjustment. On the strength of these efforts, Italy was in the first wave of countries to adopt the single European currency.? During the 1990s, there was also a process of institutional convergence. In line with the requirements of the Treaty of Maastricht, the independence of central banks was reinforced. In Italy, this was done in a series of steps. At the beginning of 1992, the Bank of Italy was given fully independent power to set official interest rates. In the autumn, a law prohibited the State from financing itself by current account overdrafts with the Bank. The Bank of Italy has not participated in government securities auctions since 1994.?The transposition of the Second Banking Directive (1992) into Italian law set the fundamental rules for the financial sector. Banking specialization, which had characterized the credit system put together in 1936, was abolished and universal banks became possible. The series of measures taken over the years, such as those to encourage savers shift to investment in shares, supplementary pension plans and managed assets, substantially reformed the regulatory framework for banking and finance. All this was codified in the Consolidated Law on Banking of 1993 (Testo unico bancario) and the Consolidated Law on Finance of 1998 (Testo unico dell'intermediazione finanziaria). The 1993 law also made the Bank of Italy responsible for the smooth running of the payment system.? Law 262 of 28 December 2005 on the protection of savings and the regulation of financial markets also modified the organization and institutional structure of the Bank of Italy. Governor Antonio Fazio resigned in the same month. ?On 31 May 2006, Mario Draghi, who had been appointed Governor on 29 December 2005, presented his first Concluding Remarks to the General Meeting of Shareholders. The Governor noted the complexity of the field in which every modern central bank must operate. The field of operation has become even vaster for the central banks of the Eurosystem. It ranges from setting common monetary policy to payment system operations. Decisions and institutional arrangements must be adapted to the needs of an advanced, but diversified, economic area. The Bank of Italy also moves in a broader international context embracing supervisory guidelines, economic analysis and initiatives to safeguard financial stability.
Since 1 November 2011, Mario Draghi is President of the European Central Bank and Ignazio Visco has succeeded to the governorship of the Bank of Italy.
The Governors of the Bank of Italy
2011 - present Ignazio Visco
2005 - 2011 Mario Draghi
1993 - 2005 Antonio Fazio
1979 - 1993 Carlo Azeglio Ciampi
1975 - 1979 Paolo Baffi
1960 - 1975 Guido Carli
1948 - 1960 Donato Menichella
1945 - 1948 Luigi Einaudi
1931 - 1944 Vincenzo Azzolini
1928 - 1930 Bonaldo Stringher (First Governor)
1894 - 1900 Giuseppe Marchiori (Director General)
1894 Giacomo Grillo (Director General)