DEFINITION of 'Swiss National Bank'

The Swiss National Bank is the bank that is responsible for setting Switzerland's monetary policy. It is also responsible for issuing Swiss franc banknotes. About 55% of the shares of the Swiss National Bank are owned by cantons (states) and state-owned banks of Switzerland and the remaining shares are traded on the Swiss Stock Exchange (SWX) under the symbol SNBN. The primary goals of the Swiss National Bank include ensuring price stability, ensuring the supply of cash in Switzerland and supplying the Swiss money market with liquidity when needed.

BREAKING DOWN 'Swiss National Bank'

The Swiss National Bank has offices in Basel, Geneva and Zurich and was officially open for business on June 20, 1907. In 1910, the Swiss National Bank was made the sole maker of the bank note and in 1991, it was granted permission to be a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Swiss National Bank is also responsible for managing Switzerland's gold reserves, which were worth 30.5 billion Swiss Franc in July 2008.

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