In 1959, the Central Bank of the West African States (Banque Centrale des États de l'Afrique de l'Ouest-BCEAO) succeeded the Currency Board of French West Africa and Togo as the bank of issue for the former French West African territories, known now as the franc zone: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. Foreign exchange receipts of the member states went into the franc zone's exchange pool, which in turn covered their foreign exchange requirements. In July 1962, however, Mali withdrew from the BCEAO and West African Monetary Union and established a bank of its own, the Bank of the Republic of Mali, which issued a new currency, the Malian franc.
In 1967, Mali returned to the franc zone, with its franc set at half the value of the CFA franc. In March 1968, the banking system was reorganized, and the Central Bank of Mali was established as the central issuing bank. In December 1982, Mali's application to rejoin the West African Monetary Union was rejected, as Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), which had a border dispute with Mali, continued to oppose Mali's readmission until 1983. In 1984 it rejoined the BCEAO and the monetary union.
In addition to the Central Bank, commercial banks in 1997 included: the Bank of Africa, Banque Commerciale de Sahel, Banque Malienne de Crédit et du Depots, and the Financial Bank Mali. Development banks in Mali include the Banque de Développment du Mali and the Banque Nationale de Développment Agricole. Domestic savings have increased since 1994. Along with other members of the Union économique at minétaire ouest-africaine (UEMOA), Mali now faces the problem of diversifying credit instruments in favor of small and medium-sized enterprises, which have historically relied upon informal sources of investment.
The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand deposits—an aggregate commonly known as M1—were equal to $514.6 million. In that same year, M2—an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual funds—was $664.6 million. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 4.95%. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 6.5%.