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All glossary entries


See balance of payments (b.o.p.)

backup system

A system designed to replace the primary system in the event of the primary system being unable to function for whatever reason. See also business continuity

balance of payments (b.o.p.)

A statistical system through which economic transactions occurring during specific time periods between an economy and the rest of the world can be summarised in a systematic way. The IMF’s Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6) provides conceptual guidelines for compiling balance of payments statistics according to international standards. See also capital account (in a b.o.p. context), current account (in a b.o.p. context), financial account (in a b.o.p. context)

Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6)

The sixth edition of the IMF’s standard framework for statistics on the transactions and positions between an economy and the rest of the world.

Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD)

Directive 2014/59/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council establishes a harmonised framework for the recovery and resolution of credit institutions and investment firms. It introduces harmonised tools and powers relating to prevention, early intervention and resolution for all EU Member States.

banking union

One of the building blocks for completing Economic and Monetary Union, which consists of an integrated financial framework with a single supervisory mechanism, a single bank resolution mechanism, and a single rulebook, including for harmonised deposit guarantee schemes, which may evolve into a common European deposit insurance scheme. See also Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM), Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM)

base money (monetary base)

Currency (banknotes and coins) in circulation plus the minimum reserves credit institutions are required to hold with the Eurosystem and any excess reserves they may voluntarily hold in the Eurosystem's deposit facility, all of which are liabilities on the Eurosystem's balance sheet. Base money is sometimes also referred to as the "monetary base".

Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS)

The primary global standard-setter for the prudential regulation of banks and a forum for cooperation on banking supervisory matters. Its mandate is to strengthen the regulation, supervision and practices of banks worldwide with the purpose of enhancing financial stability. BCBS members include organisations with direct banking supervisory authority and central banks.

Basel framework (Basel III)

A global regulatory framework for banks and banking systems, developed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision in response to the financial crisis of 2008. Basel III builds upon the Basel II rulebook. Its aim is to strengthen the regulation, supervision and risk management of the banking sector. The measures aim to improve the banking sector's ability to absorb shocks arising from financial and economic stress, improve risk management and governance, and strengthen banks' transparency and disclosures.

Basel III

See Basel framework (Basel III)

batch (bulk payments)

A group of orders (payment orders and/or securities transfer orders) to be processed together.


See Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS)


Basel Core Principles


A recipient of funds (payee) or securities. Depending on the context, a beneficiary can be a direct participant in a payment system and/or a final recipient.


See Broad Economic Policy Guidelines (BEPGs)


See Business Identifier Code (BIC)

bilateral exposure

One party’s exposure to another party. See also exposure

bilateral net settlement system

A settlement system in which every individual bilateral combination of participants settles its net settlement position on a bilateral basis. See also net settlement system

bilateral netting

An arrangement whereby two parties net their bilateral obligations. See also multilateral netting, net settlement system, netting

bilateral procedure

A procedure whereby the central bank deals directly with only one counterparty or a few counterparties on a one-to-one basis, without making use of tender procedures. Bilateral procedures include operations executed through stock exchanges or market agents.

bill of exchange

A written order from one party (the drawer) to another (the drawee) instructing it to pay a specified sum on demand or on a specified date to the drawer or a third party specified by the drawer. These are widely used to finance trade and, when discounted with a financial institution, to obtain credit.


Bank for International Settlements


A process preventing the transfer of a specified amount of funds or a specified quantity of a security.

bond market

The market for interest-bearing securities (with either a fixed or a floating rate and with a maturity of at least one year) that companies and governments issue to raise capital for investment. Fixed-rate bonds account for the largest share of this market.

book-entry system

A system which enables transfers of securities and other financial assets which do not involve the physical movement of paper documents or certificates (e.g. the electronic transfer of securities). See also dematerialisation, immobilisation

book-entry transaction

This term has two meanings. 1) In the field of securities, it refers to a transaction which is processed without the movement of physical certificates, being effected instead by means of credit and debit entries. 2) In the field of payments, it refers to a credit or debit entry made by a credit institution on the account of a customer in accordance with a general instruction issued by the customer (e.g. for a dividend payment or bank fees).


See Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6)


basis points


A particular payment product (especially a card) that has been licensed by its owner for use in a given territory.


breach reporting mechanism

Broad Economic Policy Guidelines (BEPGs)

Guidelines adopted by the EU Council in line with Article 121(2) TFEU to provide the framework for defining the economic policies of the Member States and of the Union. See also Employment Guidelines, Integrated Guidelines


See Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD)

budget balance

Net lending/borrowing of the general government sector, i.e. the net amount of revenue which is either placed by the government at the disposal of other sectors, or provided by other sectors to the government. It corresponds to the difference between total government revenue and total government expenditure.

bulk payments

See batch (bulk payments)

business continuity

A state of uninterrupted business operations. This term also refers to all of the organisational, technical and staffing measures employed in order to: 1) ensure the continuation of core business activities in the immediate aftermath of a crisis; and 2) gradually ensure the continued operation of all business activities in the event of sustained and severe disruption. See also backup system

Business Identifier Code (BIC)

An international standard for identification of institutions within the financial services industry. The registration authority for BICs, which consist of eight or eleven contiguous characters, comprising a financial institution code (four characters), a country code (two characters), a location code (two characters) and, optionally, a branch code (three characters), is SWIFT.

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