The BIS's original members were Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, France, Britain, Italy, the United States and Japan.
The BIS was founded in 1930 to act as the clearinghouse for German war reparations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles.
The BIS is often described as the central bank for central banks because it supplies banking services to the ECB (European Central Bank) and the Federal Reserve as examples.
Its purpose is to encourage international monetary and financial cooperation globally, while providing banking services to central banks and other international organisations only.The BIS carries out its duties through meetings and programmes. It also conducts research on economic issues and publishes reports.