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History of the Central Bank
At the end of World War II, the financial sector was dominated and regulated by foreign institutions such as the British Currency Board (1951). It was felt that these institutions administered policies that were not consistent with the domestic economic environment.
In 1964, the Central Bank of Trinidad & Tobago was established by an Act of Parliament. Its main functions were outlined as follows:
- Issue and redeem currency
- Act as the Government’s banker
- Promote financial stability
- Manage the exchange rate
- Maintain monetary stability
This period can be described as one of the Bank's most trying periods. With falling oil prices and a fragile financial structure, the economy was faced with the prospect of near collapse. The Bank at this time played a more interventionist role within the economy by providing short-term liquidity to the commercial banks. However, this failed to prove a viable solution. The Bank was then moved to close five National Financial Institutions as it was given ‘emergency powers’ by way of the amendments made to the Central Bank Act and Financial Sector Acts. It was in this period that the Deposit Insurance Corporation and Home Mortgage Bank were established. The Bank played a critical role in the institutional building of the financial sector.
This period was characterised by financial sector reform. As part of the Structural Adjustment policies adopted by the Government at this time, the bank embarked on the liberalisation of the financial sector. This process was guided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. In 1993 the Bank achieved a landmark in its evolution: the creation of First Citizens' Bank by merging the National Commercial Bank (NCB), the Workers’ Bank and the Trinidad Co-operative Bank.
As the bank enters and operates in the 21st century, it is continuously evolving to improve its operations to meet and exceed international best practices. Today the Bank not only plays an important role in the financial sector but also in the overall development of the country.
See the list of past Governors here.