Building trust in the economy and the financial system

Together with the Haut Conseil de Stabilité Financière (HCSF – High Council for Financial Stability), we work to provide financial stability, which is essential for the smooth operation of the economy. To ensure trust in financial system participants, we oversee banks and insurers via the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR – Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority). 

We facilitate the provision of credit to businesses by assessing their financial situation (company rating) and helping them to overcome any difficulties through credit mediation.

Working with our partners, we identify and anticipate any risks to financial stability, and notably risks related to climate change. We devise measures and regulations specific to the risks identified. Lastly, we ensure the coordination at national, European and international level needed to implement regulations on a consistent basis.

Stabilising consumer prices and credit conditions

As the French pillar of the Eurosystem, we steer monetary policy in the euro area, focusing primarily on price stability, which is key to ensuring economic prosperity.

Price stability is defined as an inflation target of 2% over the medium term. To achieve this target, monetary policy aims to ensure that the quantity of money circulating in the economy increases neither too fast nor too slow vis-à-vis the growth in the production of goods and services. 

In order to keep inflation at a low, stable level over time, we help define key interest rates within the Eurosystem, which are the interest rates at which the central bank lends to commercial banks. In particular, these rates influence the cost of loans granted by commercial banks. A low but positive inflation rate, of around 2% according to economic models, makes it possible to manage consumer expectations and drive growth. 

Safeguarding currency in circulation and payment system infrastructures

Alongside other central banks in the euro area, we ensure the public can have confidence in cash in circulation (euro banknotes and coins) and that cashless means of payment are secure (bank cards, transfers, cheques, electronic money).

As the leading printer of euro banknotes, we are responsible for producing and putting banknotes into circulation. Our cash management policy is based on 5 pillars: acceptability, accessibility, robustness, quality and efficiency.

Through our mission of supervising cashless means of payment, we ensure users benefit from efficient, reliable and secure payment services. We also oversee the smooth operation and security of financial market infrastructures, in liaison with the ACPR and the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF – Financial Markets Authority).

Banknotes remain the main payment instrument in Europe and France, in terms of number of transactions. 

A very special role as banker to the French state

The Banque de France keeps the French state’s accounting records, along with those of other institutional clients, and manages the related payment services and methods. On behalf of the state, it is responsible for payments to the economy, public procurement, the payment of public sector employees’ wages, and for tax levies and credits. Its role has changed in line with Eurosystem rules which prohibit the central bank of a state in the euro area from granting overdrafts or any other type of loan to public bodies. 

As the state’s banker, the Banque de France is the keeper of France’s gold reserves, the fifth largest in the world. Although gold no longer plays a monetary role, it remains an investment asset and notably a reserve asset for central banks. The Banque de France also manages the country’s currency reserves.

Helping the general public with formalities and supporting business professionals

Our branches are open to any person – both private individuals and professionals – encountering financial difficulties (overindebtedness) or struggling to access basic financial services (opening an account, microloans, etc.). We help business leaders with their management and banking relations.

As key players in the operation and understanding of the economy, we publish statistics and studies to be used by analysts, teachers, researchers and the general public. We also provide banking and financial information to help consumers.

Lastly, we are involved in France’s financial education strategy (EDUCFI): our website provides all the information required to manage a budget and personal finances as well as resources to help entrepreneurs gain a better understanding of financial matters. In 2019, we launched the Cité de l’économie (Citéco) to teach everyone about the language and mechanisms of economics.