The Bank of Sierra Leone, established in 1963, is the central bank and bank of issue. The Banking Act of 1964 provides for the regulation of commercial banks by the central bank, including the control of money supply. Poor revenue collection, failure to control expenditure and heavy debt servicing requirements as a result of past borrowing characterized government finances in the 1980s and early 1990s.
In the 1990s, there were six commercial banks operating in the country. Standard Chartered Bank Sierra Leone and Barclays Bank of Sierra Leone are both foreign banks that are locally incorporated, with Sierra Leonean staff. The International Bank of Trade and Industry opened in 1982, with funds from Lebanese and Sierra Leonean investors.
The National Development Bank was established in 1968 to finance agricultural and industrial projects. The National Cooperative Development Bank, established in 1971, serves as a central bank for all cooperatives and makes modest loans to individual farmers and cooperatives for agricultural improvements. Sierra Leone also has a Post Office Savings Bank. Most banks closed during the rebel attacks of the late 1990s.
The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand deposits—an aggregate commonly known as M1—were equal to $95.4 million. In that same year, M2—an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual funds—was $146.4 million.
There is no securities exchange in Sierra Leone.