Bhutan - Banking and securities
Bhutan's central bank is the Royal Monetary Authority, established in 1982 to manage currency and foreign exchange. There are in addition four other major financial institutions. The Bank of Bhutan was founded in 1968 as a joint venture with India. A second commercial bank, the Bhutan National Bank (BNB), was established in 1997 as a public corporation, though the government retains 51%. The BNB's operations are computerized and it is connected with major foreign banks, unlike the Bank of Bhutan, which still uses hand-written ledgers. The Bhutan Development Finance Corporation (BDFC) was set up in 1988 to finance small and medium enterprises. The small Royal Bhutan Stock Exchange (RBSE) currently trades about 13 companies.
In 2001 there was a reduction of interest rates in all lending categories and on large deposits. There are no ATMs, and banking hours are mostly restricted to 9 AM to 1 PM Monday to Friday, and 9 AM to 11 AM on Saturday, but there are some "evening banks" in Thimphu and Phuentsholing with hours between 1 to 5 PM Wednesday and Sunday, 1 to 3 PM on Monday, and closed on Tuesday. Gross foreign currency reserves reached $300 million in 2001. The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand deposits—an aggregate commonly known as M1—were equal to $107.2 million. In that same year, M2—an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual funds—was $227.1 million.