National Bank of Austria

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Logo of the Austrian National Bank
Main building at Otto-Wagner-Platz 3
Main building at Otto-Wagner-Platz 3
Headquarters Vienna , AustriaAustriaAustria 
governor Robert Holzmann
country Austria


ISO 4217 EUR
Currency reserves EUR 22.1 billion (2016)


Austrian-Hungarian bank

List of central banks
Share over 100 kroner in the Oesterreichische Nationalbank from December 22, 1922

The Austrian National Bank ( OeNB ) is as central an integral part of Austria's European System of Central Banks (ESCB) and the Eurosystem . It plays a key role in shaping economic development in Austria and the Eurozone . Legally, the OeNB is a stock corporation . However, it is also subject to further regulations anchored in the National Bank Act, which result from its separate position as central bank. As part of the Eurosystem, the OeNB participates in a stability-oriented monetary policy . At the national level, it is responsible for ensuring financial market stability and the supply of money, and manages currency reserves to secure the euro in times of crisis. The guiding values ​​with regard to the fulfillment of the tasks of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank are “security, stability and trust”.



Count von Stadion receives the patent from Emperor Franz I of Austria to found the Oesterreichische Nationalbank in Vienna . Bronze medal for the 100th anniversary on June 1, 1916 by Stefan Schwartz , obverse.
Back of this medal for the centenary of the National Bank.

Fifty years before the National Bank was founded, the Habsburgs carried out their first experiments with securities in the form of paper money . Finally, in the 18th century, the issue of banknotes was transferred to an independent institute, whereupon in 1762 the issue of paper money, so-called “ Banco notes ”, was carried out by the “Wiener Stadtbank” founded in 1705.

In times of war, the government took control of the money dispensing again, so that between 1796 and 1810 there was an inflation of the banco notes. The state ordered the mandatory acceptance of paper money in private transactions, which led to a rapidly increasing discount on banknotes on the market. In 1799, 100 guilders of paper money was only paid for 92  guilders in silver coins, and by the end of 1810 the value of the paper guilders had fallen to 15 percent of the nominal value of the Banco notes. The Habsburgs later declared that the Banco slips would be devalued at a ratio of 5: 1. This act was viewed by the business world as national bankruptcy , with which the paper money experienced a rapid devaluation.

At the end of the Napoleonic Wars , the multi-ethnic Habsburg state (→ Habsburg Monarchy ) faced a new challenge: the restoration of a European balance. The church, the nobility, the army and the civil service as elements in the ancien régime were not enough to solve this task; a well-founded economic situation was necessary. Besides, the laws of supply and demand could not be easily neglected.

In view of this, two patents were issued by Emperor Franz I on June 1, 1816 (later referred to as “main patent” and “bank patent” to distinguish between them); the "privileged Oesterreichische National-Bank", conceived as a stock corporation, had to be constituted as soon as possible, to propose three of its directors to the emperor for the selection of the governor and to start its activities provisionally on July 1, 1816.

From now on, the National Bank had a monopoly on the issue of banknotes , which led to a calming of the Austrian monetary system and an increase in the value of paper money. The economy now had a solid source of money again, which kept the value of money constant regardless of the state's spending plans. The bank's equity justified this through share issues.

Initially, the bank's activities - under provisional management - included the redemption of paper money and the issuance of shares. The National Bank only became fully effective after the issue of 1,000 shares and the associated opportunity for shareholders to determine the management themselves.


On July 15, 1817, the National Bank was given the “first banking privilege”, the exclusive right to unlimited issue of banknotes and, in this context, a special position with regard to the rediscount business . At the beginning of 1818 the permanent bank management was established. It included leading figures in Viennese society, u. a. the bankers Johann Heinrich von Geymüller and Bernhard von Eskeles . From 1830 to 1837 the office of governor was held by Adrian Nicolaus Freiherr von Barbier . After it was founded, the bank initially resided at Singerstraße 17-19 before moving to Herrengasse 17 / Bankgasse 1 in 1823.

In the countries of the Habsburg Monarchy, which were largely characterized by an agricultural livelihood structure, some regions showed brisk commercial and industrial growth. The goal now was to create a system of economic exchange between these areas. The National Bank gradually established a network of branches, thus guaranteeing an even supply of money and credit. From the headquarters in Vienna, this network extended over early industrial regions and trading centers in Eastern and Central Europe to the northern Mediterranean area.

Commercial bills and coins were the preferred assets of the National Bank rather than the transfer of money to the state. With the exchange transactions , the National Bank supported the economic upswing of the monarchy and at the same time secured the supply of silver coins in the event that the demand for these in exchange for banknotes increases contrary to expectations. In 1818, however, the National Bank was not spared from increasing government debt positions on the assets side of its balance sheet due to increasing government debt due to high expenditure in times of crisis.

The provisions of the National Bank's founding patent did not sufficiently ensure autonomy vis-à-vis the government. At the center of the struggle for this independence was the question of the extent to which banknotes can be issued on the basis of government bonds. In 1841, a renewal of the banking privilege weakened this independence by pushing back the influence of the shareholders in favor of the state administration. During the revolution of 1848/49 , supporters of constitutional goals received great support from leading personalities of the National Bank. For about a hundred years, the Austrian banking branch of the Rothschild family (from which the “kk privileged Österreichische Credit-Anstalt für Handel und Gewerbe”, later the Creditanstalt , emerged from 1855 ) played a leading role at the Vienna banking center. Salomon Mayer von Rothschild was involved in all major transactions of the National Bank for the restructuring of the state budget during the pre-March period .

The National Bank paid particular attention to the development of the surcharge that had to be paid when exchanging banknotes for silver money in business transactions. The increase, which corresponded to a devaluation of the banknotes issued by the bank, should be prevented. From a national point of view, the increase in the silver premium means a deterioration in exchange relations with other countries, which has a negative impact on the price competitiveness of Austrian foreign trade. There were various limits to the stabilization of the premium. Although the amount of this depended on the bank's issuing activity , the silver price and the possible effects of increased government debt also had a significant impact on the silver premium. Above all, the revolution of 1848 and conflicts in the following years caused the silver agio to rise.

By the middle of the century, the private banking and wholesaling firms were no longer able to cope with the rapidly growing financial intermediation of the Habsburg monarchy. New forms of capital formation were required. The first, government-approved, private joint-stock bank emerged from an initiative by the House of Rothschild. This foundation was followed in 1863 and 1864 by two more joint stock banks, whose major shareholders included important personalities from the high aristocracy who had large, liquid funds. Overall, with these banks, the money creation potential of the "financial center Vienna" grew.

The central bank was faced with another difficult task: with its limited resources, it had to secure sufficient liquidity on the one hand and prevent the inflationary spread of the money supply on the other. Thanks to close contact with the shareholders of the Vienna financial center, an (informal) vote was easy, especially in times of crisis. On the other hand, there were differences of opinion in the central bank's board of directors, which made it necessary to enforce resolutions.

In 1861 Friedrich Schey von Koromla became director of the National Bank. On December 27, 1862, the banking privilege experienced another innovation. The independence of the National Bank from the state was restored and enshrined. Furthermore, the direct allocation of banknotes according to the system of the "Peel's bank file", which states that the banknotes in circulation exceeding the fixed budget of 200 million guilders, must be covered by silver coins, was introduced. As early as 1866, when the German War ended in defeat for Austria, this system was no longer adhered to. The state felt compelled to provide compensation for the violation of the privilege. This compensation was supported by a law of 1872, according to which the National Bank may issue notes up to a maximum of 200 million guilders and any further disbursements must be fully covered by gold or silver.

In 1873 the economic upswing of the Habsburg Monarchy represented a sustained rise in prices. A slump that was now to be expected could not be absorbed by the behavior of the Vienna Stock Exchange, resulting in the " Great Crash of 1873 ". The restrictions on the circulation of banknotes established in 1872 were suspended for a short time. Contrary to expectations, however, at the height of the crisis the money supply only grew by just under 1% above the limit prescribed in the bank file. The banks as well as the industrial and commercial enterprises survived the crash without major losses, although the share prices were well below the initial level.

The years of great growth were followed by a period of stagnation.


As part of the settlement negotiations between Austria and Hungary in 1867, the National Bank was able to exercise its privileges without restriction; However, the Kingdom of Hungary now had the evidenced right, exercisable every ten years, to found its own central bank (Zettelbank) . Since it emerged after the first 10-year period that neither of the two parts of the monarchy wanted to set up an independent bank of notes , the Austrian-Hungarian bank was established on June 28, 1878, initially limited to December 31, 1887 , and with the Central bank privilege equipped. The first privilege of the new bank was a compromise that included rules on liability for national debts and rules to limit the government's influence on banking operations. In 1878 Gustav von Leonhardt became the bank's general secretary.

The General Assembly and the General Council formed the bank administration unit. Two directorates and head offices - in Vienna and Budapest - represented the bank's dual character. A long discussion finally followed in 1892–1900 the currency conversion from the guilder (silver currency) to the crown ( gold standard ) with coins called " gold crowns ".

Since the new banknotes were very popular with the public, many gold coins now piled up in the vaults of the Austrian-Hungarian bank. This period was characterized by a balanced combination of growth and price dampening; the “ per capita national product ” grew while the price level remained largely stable. Against this background, it was easy for the central bank to promote a new wave of industrialization.

With a third privilege in 1899, conditions were set under which the bank could be placed in the financial service of the two states, and there were important innovations that paved the way for a good foreign exchange policy. Until 1914, the exchange ratio of the Austro-Hungarian currency remained unchanged with only minor fluctuations. In contrast, there was the political development marked by conflicts.

The expansive foreign policy quickly led to high costs, for which the central bank had to pay a large part. The stability of the currency was in danger. Shortly after the beginning of the First World War, in 1914, the army command decided to compensate all confiscated goods at double the price. This was followed by an increasing scarcity of goods, associated with an ongoing expansion of the money supply and finally the price level increased 16 times.

The war costs incurred by the dual monarchy were covered 40% by central bank loans and 60% by war bonds. Over the duration of the war, the productivity built up over the past decades was frozen. At the end of the war, in 1918, the real income of the workers had on average fallen to a fifth of their income in the last year of peace, 1913.

With the end of the war the old order had come to an end. The disintegration of Cisleithanien and Transleithanien into several successor states resulted in a currency separation, despite the efforts of the central bank to maintain order (see krona currency when the monarchy collapsed, successor states ). First of all, an independent “Austrian management team” was introduced for the bank. It was required to meet the deficits of the state budget of the Republic of Austria founded in 1918 .

The new South Slav state began to stamp its kroner banknotes in January 1919. The also newly founded Czechoslovak Republic kept the krona currency (until today), but printed its circulating banknotes from February 1919 with information that it was now Czechoslovak kroner. (The country was able to avoid the kind of inflation Austria experienced.) In March 1919, German Austria began to stamp its kroner banknotes.

The State Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye of September 10, 1919, which was ratified by Austria on October 25, 1919 and came into force on July 16, 1920, placed the cancellation and replacement of all crown banknotes of all successor states of Austria-Hungary as well the complete liquidation of the Austrian-Hungarian bank under the supervision of the war winners. The last meetings of the bank took place in mid-1921 and late 1922.

After a period of overvaluation of the krona, the dollar rose again from 1919 onwards. In 1921 more than 5,000 Austrian crowns per dollar had to be paid. In addition to the considerable drop in the external value, there was increasing inflation in Austria . At the end of 1922, a restructuring program - the “ Geneva Protocols ” - was finally passed with foreign help , which slowed down inflation.


By federal law of July 24, 1922, the finance minister was commissioned to set up a central bank to take over the entire banknote in circulation plus the giro liabilities of the Austrian management of the Austrian-Hungarian bank . With the federal law of November 14, 1922, some provisions of the law were changed and the statutes of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank announced . By decree of the Federal Government Seipel I of December 29, 1922, the authorization granted to the Austrian management of the Oesterreichisch-Hungarian Bank to operate as a central bank was declared to have expired on January 1, 1923 and the Oesterreichische Nationalbank was announced to start operations on that day.

The statutes of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB) ensure independence from the state, the independence of the bank under the exclusion of external influences and the corresponding equity capital. Initially, the focus was on stabilizing the Austrian currency. With the Schilling Billing Act of December 20, 1924, the shilling currency (First Republic) was introduced on March 1, 1925; it replaced the krona currency. For 10,000 kroner you got one shilling.

Viktor Kienböck should be mentioned as an important personality with regard to the order of the state budget . From 1922 to 1924 and from 1926 to 1929 he was Finance Minister of the First Republic and from 1932 to 1938 President of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank. Thanks to his work, the Austrian schilling remained stable even after the global economic crisis. Under this condition, the central bank was able to cope with the multitude of bank failures of the past time.


In accordance with the connection law passed on March 13, the Reichsmark currency was introduced in Austria by decree of the Führer and Reich Chancellor of March 17, 1938 , and the exchange rate was determined: One Reichsmark is equal to one shilling fifty groschen. On the same day, the Reich Chancellor ordered that the management of the National Bank to be liquidated should be transferred to the Reichsbank.

By decree of three ministers of the German Reich of April 23, 1938, the National Bank was declared the property of the Reichsbank and its legal tender status was revoked on April 25, 1938; public coffers had to accept shilling banknotes until May 15, 1938. All gold and foreign exchange reserves were transferred to Berlin.

The Second World War weakened the Austrian economy to a great extent; the production power after the war was only 40% of that of 1937 (see also air raids on Austria ). To finance the war, the Reichsbank put large numbers of banknotes into circulation, which would only have been able to be compared with actual values ​​if the Reich had a great victory. Since prices were strictly regulated, however, inflation could practically be "forbidden" during the war.


50 Schilling silver coin for the 150th anniversary (1966)

In occupied post-war Austria , the occupying powers initially printed around 10 billion Allied military shillings, which contributed to a considerable increase in prices.

With the re-establishment of the Republic of Austria by the Austrian Declaration of Independence on April 27, 1945, the Austrian National Bank resumed its activities. With the “Central Bank Transition Act” of July 1945, provisional legal regulations for the activities of the bank were laid down. Restoring the Austrian currency was their first major task. The aim was to combine all currencies that were in circulation at the time and to base them on a new Austrian currency. The “Schilling Law” of November 1945 was the basis for the reintroduction of the shilling as legal tender in the Second Republic. After that it was necessary to reduce the liquidity surplus, to provide companies with the necessary funds for new investments and to make the external value of the schilling competitive in order to build up the economy. Initially, however, there was little change in the inflationary situation and the schilling was also still significantly undervalued in relation to other currencies.

The "Currency Protection Act" of 1947 brought about a significant change in the money overhang . Some deposits were canceled without replacement, others converted into claims against the federal treasury . The following exchange campaign also significantly reduced the amount of cash: Banknotes from 1945 were withdrawn and exchanged for new schilling notes at a ratio of 1: 3. You could only change 1: 1 for 150 schillings per person.

The social partners came to the fore to control inflation. In 1947, the associations of employers and employees set prices for commodities, and wages were also raised. This was the first of a total of five “price-wage agreements” between the social partners. In 1952, inflation was slowed down by the restrictive use of monetary policy instruments by the National Bank. Foreign trade also slowly relaxed after the end of the Korean War .

In 1955, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank was re-established as a public limited company by the new National Bank Act and the temporary arrangement created by the National Bank Transition Act was eliminated. The National Bank Act stipulated that half of the capital should be held by the federal government and half by private shareholders. In addition to the independence from the state's credit claims, the new National Bank Act also contained the regulation that the central bank must also pay attention to the economic policy of the federal government in the context of its currency and credit policy. In addition, from now on the areas of open market and minimum reserve policy were among the instruments of the National Bank.

The Austrian economy stabilized more and more, through good financial and monetary policy, high growth could be achieved with low inflation and long-term maintenance of the external balance.

In 1960 Austria joined the European Free Trade Area and took part in European integration.

In the 1960s the international monetary system, based on gold-dollar convertibility, began to falter and monetary policy reforms were necessary. Initially, easing the exchange rate adjustments between several countries was an option. American balance of payments problems, however, brought capital restrictions with them, whereupon the euro-dollar market emerged. In 1971 the gold convertibility of the US dollar was lifted.

In 1975 a recession interrupted the increasing growth of time. International balance of payments imbalances caused very extensive foreign exchange movements, which severely challenged the intervention force of Austrian monetary policy. Their task was now to control the effect of foreign exchange on domestic economic activities, to stabilize the shilling within the framework of the constantly shifting exchange rates and to control the inflation appropriately. Since the inflow of foreign funds was too high, which jeopardized economic stability, politicians opted for independent exchange rates in a pool of selected European currencies.

The collapse of the economy forced political decision-makers to adopt a new course with credit control on the active side, restrained wage increases, financial stimulus for supply and demand, and interest rates kept low. However, this system of regulation halted the necessary structural change, so that it had to be abandoned as early as 1979. On August 30 of that year from about 3 o'clock in the morning, a fire destroyed large parts of the main building of the Austrian National Bank in Vienna, with 383 men of the fire brigade Vienna as well as the volunteer fire department of the city Schwechat were used. The cause of the fire was probably a smoldering cigarette and an at least partially switched off fire alarm system. The repair work lasted until 1985.

The aim in the eighties was to strengthen economic performance with the help of a competitive performance comparison. The findings from the 1970s stimulated Austrian monetary policy to align the Schilling exchange rate with the Deutsche Mark in order to ensure price stability in the country. In addition, the structural change was initiated by incorporation into a large currency area. Stable, if not necessarily comfortable, framework conditions for monetary policy were a prerequisite for securing long-term productivity increases for companies and thus maintaining their position in the economy.

At first, high unemployment stood in the way of this development. It was only in the second half of the decade that growth increased, while competitiveness increased and current accounts could be kept in equilibrium.

In the 1990s Austria was incorporated into the European Community . In 1995 Austria became a member of the European Union (EU) and joined the exchange rate mechanism of the European Monetary System . In 1998, in order to implement the tasks and goals of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB), an amendment to the National Bank Act established the independence of the institutions or bodies of the European Community and the governments of the EU member states. This created the legal basis for Austria's participation in the third stage of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in 1999.

From 1999

The Oesterreichische Nationalbank and other national central banks, together with the European Central Bank (ECB), are part of the European System of Central Banks.

On January 1, 1999, the euro was introduced as the common currency in Austria and ten other EU member states as part of the third stage of economic and monetary union. From now on, the European Central Bank is responsible for monetary policy, and decisions in this regard are taken accordingly by the Council of the European Central Bank.

The OeNB has been fully owned by the Republic of Austria since May 2010, after interest groups, banks and insurance companies originally also held 50% of the share capital. In 2011, the National  Bank Act was adapted to this circumstance through an amendment ( Federal Law Gazette I No. 50/2011), which means that renewed privatization is legally excluded.

Main building or headquarters

The main entrance with a relief by Othmar Schimkowitz

The building was originally built on the grounds of the demolished Alser barracks from 1912/13 on the basis of plans by the architect Leopold Bauer as a printing house for the Austrian-Hungarian Bank and as part of a large bank complex. Because of the First World War and its consequences, only the shell was completed.

After the newly created Oesterreichische Nationalbank began its activities on January 1, 1923, it decided in May 1923 to purchase the property on Alser Strasse from the liquidation assets of the Oesterreichisch-Hungarian Bank. The half-finished printing house, the undeveloped grounds and a residential building in the adjacent Garelligasse 3 were then purchased for 1.2 million gold crowns. The architects Rudolf Eisler and Ferdinand Glaser were commissioned to convert the printing house into the headquarters of the institute , and in March 1925 the Oesterreichische Nationalbank moved into the building , which is in the style of moderate Austrian neoclassicism ( reform architecture ).

After the "Anschluss" of Austria in March 1938, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank was dissolved, and the building was used by the 2nd Panzer Division of the German Wehrmacht, which had moved to Vienna . After the Second World War , the building served as the headquarters of the US occupation forces.

On 29./30. In August 1979 the building partially burned down. The architect Carl Appel was commissioned with the restoration and the reconstruction that was carried out at the same time . During this time, the offices were temporarily housed in the then vacant Grand Hotel (1. Kärntner Ring 9-13). In 1984 they returned to the original building on Otto-Wagner-Platz .

The OeNB as a modern central bank

With the withdrawal from private customer business in the 1960s and the first major internationalization and the introduction of strategic corporate management in the 1970s, the OeNB embarked on the path to becoming a future-oriented central bank. Another major reform of the bank began in the late 1980s.

With a view to global development, the OeNB established itself as a service company in 1988 and expanded its guiding values ​​- “Security, Stability and Trust” - to include the principles of “Efficiency” and “Cost awareness”. The business resources have been optimized and strategic business areas have been strengthened through targeted innovations. Examples include the intensification of domestic cooperation in the area of ​​payment transactions through the suggestion of founding the Study Society for Cooperation in Payment Transactions ( STUZZA ), the liberalization of capital transactions , the professional management of currency reserves, the improvement of the money supply through the new construction of the money center and the Internationalization of business activities through the establishment of representative offices in Brussels (European Union), Paris ( OECD ) and in the New York financial center.

After Austria joined the EU in 1995, the OeNB participated in the European Monetary System ( EMS ) and its exchange rate mechanism. Integration into the third stage of Economic and Monetary Union ( EMU ) was the next step towards the further development of stability policy. Since the Maastricht Treaty was signed, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank has dealt very extensively with its role in the ESCB and created a basis for acceptance into the community. Austria's well-founded economic and currency policy was also a reference that qualified the OeNB to play an active role in shaping Europe's monetary future. A greater harmonization of the statistical framework and monetary policy instruments with a view to the Eurosystem, the preparation of the issue of European banknotes and the establishment of operational organizational processes as well as the networking of business processes in the ESCB were particular goals of the OeNB.

In the following it came a. to set up an economics department, an education and training offensive and to strengthen the payment transaction position by setting up the TARGET system .

An “OeNB master plan” drawn up in 1996 provided important points for the imminent transition to the euro.

In May 1998, a new pension system came into effect, which included new employees in a two-pillar model.

In 1999 Austria's participation in the third stage of the EMU became manifest. The Oesterreichische Nationalbank - as part of the ESCB - became the owner of the European Central Bank and in this context received new competencies in terms of participation in monetary policy decision-making at the level of the European Community. With the introduction of the euro, the monetary policy tasks of the General Council were transferred to the Governing Council. However, implementation is still the responsibility of the state central banks.

Activities of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank were and are, for example, further professionalization in asset management , the expansion of the network of representative offices by opening a representative office in the financial center of London, the preparation of the smooth introduction of euro cash in 2002 and the participation of the OeNB in the establishment of the association "A-SIT" (Center for Secure Information Technology - Austria) and the "A-Trust" (Society for Security Systems in Electronic Data Traffic GmbH) for the purpose of promoting security in information technology.

In 2002 the national currency was changed to the euro. The OeNB was jointly responsible for ensuring that everything ran smoothly. Afterwards, new bases for strategic positioning were defined. The aim of the OeNB is to maintain its high reputation in matters of monetary policy. In addition, it is important to maintain and strengthen comparative advantages over competitors. Furthermore, a high degree of trust, reliability and stability as well as flexibility are necessary in order to be able to cope with the rapid changes in the OeNB environment.

Legal form and organs

OeNB branch in Bregenz

Legal basis

As the central bank of the Republic of Austria, the OeNB is legally subject to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Statute of the European System of Central Banks (ESZB) and the European Central Bank (ECB) as well as the National Bank Act 1984 (NBG) as amended by Federal Law Gazette  I No. 50/2011.

The share capital of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank is divided into shares, so it is legally a stock corporation . Since the end of May 2010, 100% of the share capital of EUR 12 million has belonged to the Republic of Austria . The shares of the OeNB may not be transferred according to § 9 NBG.

As a national central bank, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank works completely independently and is not permitted to accept orders from EU institutions, member states' governments or other bodies. In return, the aforementioned bodies are obliged to observe this and are required to refrain from any attempt to influence them. The National Bank's independence is enshrined in the National Bank Act; it also regulates the term of office of the General Council and the Governing Board and contains exceptions that justify the early dismissal of members.


The organs of the OeNB are the General Assembly, the General Council and the Board of Directors.

General Assembly

The federal government, as the only shareholder now, exercises its rights in the general assembly, which takes place in the first four months of each financial year by resolution of the general council. The General Assembly has the following tasks in particular:

  • Receipt of the report of the General Council on the management
  • Approval of the annual financial statements and discharge of the General Council and the Board of Directors
  • Resolution on the distribution of profits
  • Election of the members of the General Council and the auditors

With the amendment to the National Bank Act from 2011 ( Federal Law Gazette  I No. 50/2011), the following responsibilities were deleted in view of the fact that all shares are now with the federal government:

  • Election of six members of the General Council based on proposals from private shareholders (these provided half of the share capital.)
  • Consent to share transfer
  • Resolution on motions from shareholders

General Council

The General Council is responsible for overseeing those transactions that do not fall within the remit of the European System of Central Banks ( ESCB ). The general council is thus comparable to the supervisory board of a stock corporation.

Since an amendment to the National Bank Act from 2011 ( Federal Law Gazette  I No. 50/2011), the General Council has consisted of the President, a Vice President and eight members. Due to a transitional provision in this amendment to the law, the original number of General Council members (14 including presidents and vice-presidents) had to be reduced to ten by the end of 2015. The members are appointed by the federal government. The term of office is five years, after which a reappointment is possible.

The tasks of the General Council include in particular:

  • Approval for the acquisition and sale of properties and investments
  • Resolution on the approval of the annual financial statements for submission to the General Assembly
  • Right of proposal to the Federal Government for the appointment of members of the Board of Directors
The composition of the General Council (as of March 23, 2020)
Surname function
Harald Mahrer (since September 1, 2018) president
Barbara Kolm (since September 1, 2018) Vice President
Bettina Glatz-Kremsner (since March 1, 2018) Deputy Federal Party Chairman of the ÖVP , Executive Director of Casinos Austria AG and Austrian Lotteries GmbH
Gottfried Haber President of the Fiscal Council and Vice Dean at Danube University Krems
Stephan Koren Director General of immigon portfolioabbau ag
Franz Maurer Partner at Livia Group
Erwin Hameseder (since March 6, 2020) Chairman of Raiffeisen-Holding Niederösterreich-Wien reg. Gen.mbH
Brigitte Unger (since March 6, 2020) Chair of Public Finance at Utrecht University
Susanne Riess (since March 6, 2020) General Director Bausparkasse Wüstenrot AG
Peter Sidlo (since March 1, 2018, temporarily dormant since September 6, 2019) FPÖ District Council in Vienna-Alsergrund (until June 30, 2019), Executive Director of Casinos Austria AG (until December 2, 2019)
Christoph Traunig Managing partner at St. Stephan Capital Partners
Christian Schrödinger Deputy Chairman of the Central Works Council
Birgit Sauerzopf Chairwoman of the Central Works Council
Harald Waiglein Head of the Section for Economic Policy and Financial Markets in the Federal Ministry of Finance
Alfred Lejsek Group leader of Group III / B Financial Markets in the Federal Ministry of Finance
Former members of the General Council (selection)
Surname function
Walter Rothensteiner (until June 2019) General Director of Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG
Gabriele Payr (until March 2019) General director of Wiener Stadtwerke Holding AG
August Astl (until September 7, 2018) Secretary General of the Austrian Chamber of Agriculture
Claus J. Raidl (until August 31, 2018) president Former CEO of Böhler-Uddeholm AG, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria)
Max Kothbauer (until August 31, 2018) Vice President former chairman of the University Council of the University of Vienna
Erich Hampel (until May 22, 2018) Vice President of UniCredit Bank Austria AG
Anna-Maria Hochhauser (until February 28, 2018) Secretary General of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce
Werner Muhm (until February 28, 2018) Director of the Vienna Chamber of Labor
Dwora Stein (until August 31, 2018) Federal Managing Director of the Union of Private Employees, Printing, Journalism, Paper

On March 1, 2018, Bettina Glatz-Kremsner and FPÖ District Councilor Peter Sidlo Anna-Maria Hochhauser and Werner Muhm followed on the General Council. On August 22, 2018, Harald Mahrer was appointed President of the General Council, and Christoph Traunig and Stephan Koren were also appointed as new members .

In March 2020, Erwin Hameseder , Susanne Riess and Brigitte Unger were proposed to the Council of Ministers as members of the General Council by Finance Minister Gernot Blümel as successors to Gabriele Payr, Gottfried Haber and Walter Rothensteiner .


The Governing Board manages the business of the OeNB. In pursuing the objectives of the ESCB , the Executive Board is bound by the instructions of the ECB .

The board of directors consists of the governor, the vice-governor and two other members. The members of the Directory are appointed by the Federal President on the proposal of the Federal Government, which in turn receives a non-binding proposal from the General Council. The term of office is six years, reappointment is possible.

The governor participates in both the Governing Council and the General Council of the ECB . In performing their functions, he and his representative are independent of the Board of Directors and the General Council.

The composition of the Board of Directors until August 31, 2019
Surname function
Ewald Nowotny governor
Andreas Ittner Deputy Governor
Peter Mooslechner director
Kurt Pribil director
The composition of the Board of Directors
as of September 1, 2019
Surname function
Robert Holzmann Governor, as of September 2019
Gottfried Haber Vice Governor, from July 2019
Thomas Steiner Director, from May 2019
Eduard shock Director, from July 2019


Voluntary auditors of bills of exchange were designated as censors at the Oesterreichische Nationalbank and its predecessor institutions. They were appointed by the bank management from among the shareholders belonging to the trade or trade and belonged to a so-called censorship committee.


In the European System of Central Banks (ESCB), the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB) is subject to the legal system of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and takes on a newly defined "dual" role. In addition to the important national function as a central bank, this also includes European tasks arising from the integration of currency policy. For the central bank, this development was an opportunity to improve the country's economic performance and also to strive for a leading position in the merger of central banks.

The tasks of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank include:

  • monetary policy decision-making process
  • Implementation of monetary policy
  • Monetary policy communication
  • Securing financial market stability

In order to cope with these tasks, existing leeway can be used and comparative cost advantages expanded, naturally while maintaining the guiding values ​​of "security, stability and trust".

Monetary policy strategies and monetary policy decision-making process

The European System of Central Banks ( ESCB ) has been responsible for the single monetary policy of the euro area since January 1st, 1999 .

The Oesterreichische Nationalbank has the function of implementing the monetary policy decisions of the European Central Bank and the Governing Council in Austria.

The framework conditions for shaping monetary policy are given to the Eurosystem by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Art. 127.1 of the TFEU states that the primary objective of the Eurosystem is to ensure price stability. This is considered to have been achieved when the annual increase in the “harmonized index of consumer prices” ( HICP ) in the euro area is below, but close to, 2%.

Since the price level cannot be directly controlled by a central bank and is the result of a complex transmission mechanism, a framework is required in which monetary policy decisions are prepared, discussed and made. This framework defines the Eurosystem's monetary policy strategy, which is based on a two-pillar principle.

The economic analysis relates to short to medium-term determinants of price development. Supply and demand in goods , services and factor markets play an essential role in this.

The monetary analysis focuses on the long-term relationship between money supply and prices. It can be used to check the monetary policy factors derived from the economic analysis .

The governor of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank is - without being bound by instructions - significantly involved in the monetary policy decisions of the European System of Central Banks through his participation in the Governing Council.

Economic analysis

The OeNB's economic analyzes are an important part of the Bank's position within the Eurosystem . The focus is on the assessment of the economic development of the entire euro area - with a focus on the situation in Austria. Of course, the central bank is in a research competition with the other central banks for the top position. This research focuses primarily on questions of monetary and financial policy, the transmission of monetary impulses, exchange rate and currency market developments , the implementation of electronic forms of money, securing financial market stability , questions about wage formation processes in the monetary union , competition and location analyzes as well as studies on convergence or divergence of economic developments - especially with a view to the possible EU accession candidates.

In 2000 the European Central Bank (ECB) published a macroeconomic projection for the euro area for the first time. The Oesterreichische Nationalbank accordingly published economic forecasts for Austria every six months. The OeNB also analyzes the processes for integrating Central and Eastern European countries into the EU and Economic and Monetary Union, cooperates with the individual central banks and provides financial and technical support for the training of civil servants in the reformed countries.

Production of statistical data

Article 5.2 of the ESCB / ECB Statute instructs the national central banks to collect important statistical data, such as money and banking statistics, balance of payments, the international asset position and the macroeconomic financial accounts.

These statistics provide the basis for determining a reference value for the growth of the money stock M3 and for calculating the minimum reserve requirement of credit institutions with minimum reserve requirements. The Oesterreichische Nationalbank also has to forward a large amount of general economic data about Austria to the European Central Bank.

Participation in international organizations

The OeNB's participation in various international organizations and various EU institutions enables ongoing monitoring of economic and monetary developments. In addition, the knowledge gained can be integrated into the decision-making documents and thus support monetary policy in the ESCB and at national level. The Oesterreichische Nationalbank is particularly active in EU committees, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). The OeNB also represents Austria in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Selected representatives of the OeNB take part in the deliberations of the Economic and Financial Committee (WFA). Furthermore, the participation of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank in the “Economic Policy Committee”, which deals with structural policy, and in the “Advisory Bank Committee”, which deals with guidelines on banking supervision, should be mentioned.

In the IMF, whose most important goal is the stability of the international monetary system, the OeNB holds the shares for the Republic of Austria, is represented by the governor and the vice-governor and heads the Central and Eastern European voting group in a two-year transition phase, which will start in November 2012 has a seat on the Executive Board of the IMF. The group consists of Belarus, Kosovo, Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Hungary and Austria. The ECB is represented at the IMF by an observer.

Within the framework of the OECD, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank participates in many specific commissions, for example in the “Economic Policy Committee” or the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering .

As a shareholder in the BIS, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank participates in international financings and consults with other central banks on relevant monetary policy issues.

Implementation of monetary policy

The basis for the implementation of monetary policy is the sensible use of monetary policy instruments, sound reserve management and the controlled supply of money.

Use of monetary policy instruments

In the European System of Central Banks ( ESZB ), various monetary policy instruments are used to control liquidity, in this context the Oesterreichische Nationalbank ensures the supply of the Austrian banks and thus the Austrian economy.

The Eurosystem focuses primarily on open market operations in order to manage interest rates and liquidity in the market and, in addition, to give signals about the course of monetary policy.

In addition, the ESCB offers domestic banks permanent facilities as a further instrument through the Oesterreichische Nationalbank . The marginal lending facility is an option for banks to obtain liquidity from the national central bank overnight at a fixed interest rate against eligible collateral. The deposit facility enables domestic business partners to shift excess liquidity in unlimited amounts to accounts of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank overnight.

The minimum reserve that credit institutions in Austria are obliged to maintain is another monetary policy instrument.

Reserve management

The administration of the currency reserves - both the remaining ones and those transferred to the ECB - is another matter for the Oesterreichische Nationalbank. Since the beginning of the third stage of economic and monetary union , however, only the European system of central banks has had these reserves. According to Article 31.2 of the ESCB / ECB Statute, “all transactions with currency reserves that remain with the national central banks after the necessary stocks have been transferred to the ECB (against claims in euros), as well as transactions carried out by member states with their working balances in foreign currency above one certain fixed amount (Art. 31.3) approved by the ECB ”. Within the framework of these guidelines, the national central banks can carry out reserve management independently, while ensuring the uniformity of the Eurosystem's monetary policy.

Money supply

In addition to the use of monetary policy instruments and reserve management, the issue of banknotes and coins is also one of the tasks of the OeNB. The central bank works with specialized subsidiaries to maintain the relevant security standards for the means of payment. Banknote production is carried out by Oesterreichische Banknote- und Sicherheitsdruck GmbH (OeBS), the coins are issued by Münze Österreich AG and the primary distribution of cash and cash processing ("secondary production") by Geldservice Austria (GSA). Various commercial banks also participate in the latter.

Specifically, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank is responsible for issuing and taking back cash from banks. It also ensures the quality of the banknotes and coins in circulation, while the central bank also protects against counterfeiting in order to strengthen the population's trust in the currency.

Together with its subsidiary Austria Card GmbH, the OeNB also worked on establishing new, modern means of payment in order to keep pace with advances in monetary policy. In 2008, the majority of Austria Card GmbH was transferred to the Greek Lykos Group. Lykos has been the sole owner since 2011.

Monetary policy communication

The Oesterreichische Nationalbank is an important interface between the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) and economic activity in Austria. The central bank accomplishes this task through regular economic analyzes and an active exchange of information in cooperation with economic policy decision-makers. In addition, the governor and the vice-governor report to the finance committee every six months on monetary policy actions taken.

Securing financial market stability

With the increase in global integration of the capital markets and the high level of capital movements, securing the stability of the financial markets is becoming more and more important as a matter for the central banks in order to identify possible financial crises early and tackle them in good time.

Financial market stability

The Oesterreichische Nationalbank, which is subject to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), must always keep an eye on the development of the financial markets and financial products with a view to maintaining financial market stability. For this purpose, it works closely with the banking supervisory authority and is involved in the controls of the domestic credit institutions. The resulting information is incorporated into a system analysis of the financial market and supports crisis prevention in particular. Securing financial market stability is one of the basic requirements for the efficient fulfillment of monetary policy; it is one of the primary goals of the European System of Central Banks.

Payment system stability and payment transactions

With the establishment of the ESCB with the euro as the single currency, transactions are possible throughout the EU. The TARGET (Trans-European Automated Real Time Gross Settlement Express Transfer) payment system, established in 1999, enables the electronic transfer of mostly large-volume euro payments across the EU through a standardized and secure payment processing infrastructure. With the further development of TARGET2 , the same framework conditions have been in place for all market participants since 2007, which means that all banks in the EU have the same processing standards and a uniform price structure for their payments. In addition, the incoming payment is irrevocable and the processing time for the payment process only takes a few minutes.

Lively research also serves to improve the security and performance of electronic payments - always in line with monetary policy guidelines.

Payment traffic is an important pillar for the stability of the financial market and requires the smooth functioning of the payment systems. With the passing of the Financial Market Supervision Act, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank was tasked with monitoring these payment systems.

The OeNB in ​​the European System of National Banks

The national central banks of the 27 member states of the EU together with the European Central Bank (ECB) form the European System of Central Banks (ESCB). Furthermore, the Eurosystem - within the ESCB - is composed of the ECB and the national central banks of the 17 countries participating in the euro. Since January 1, 1999, the euro area has included Austria, Belgium, Germany, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Greece came in 2001, Slovenia in 2007, Malta and Cyprus in 2008, Slovakia in 2009 and Estonia in 2011.

The ESCB as such can neither enact legal acts nor conduct business; it only serves as a common framework for the ECB and the state central banks.

The national central banks, the capital owners of the European Central Bank, on the one hand remain legally independent, on the other hand, in close relationship with one another, they follow common guidelines that are set out in the TFEU and the ESCB / ECB statute.

According to Art. 127.1 TFEU, the primary objective of the ESCB is to ensure price stability. In addition, the Eurosystem promotes general economic policy in the European Community with regard to the primary objective.

The Governing Council, the Executive Board and - as long as there are states that do not participate in the euro - the "General Council of the ECB" form the management of the ESCB in accordance with Article 107.3.

Presidents / Governors

The Presidents of the OeNB
Surname Term of office
Richard Reisch 1922-1932
Viktor Kienböck 1932-1938
Eugene Kaniak 1945
Hans Rizzi 1945–1952
Eugene Margarétha 1952-1960
Reinhard Kamitz 1960-1967
Wolfgang Schmitz 1968-1973
Hans Kloss 1973-1978
Stephan Koren 1978-1988
Hellmuth Klauhs 1988-1990
Maria Schaumayer 1990-1995
Klaus Liebscher 1995–1998 President, from 1998 to September 2008 Governor
Adolf Wala 1988–1998 Director General, 1998–2003 President of the General Council
Herbert Schimetschek 2003–2008 President of the General Council
Claus Raidl September 1, 2008 - August 31, 2018 President of the General Council
Ewald Nowotny September 1, 2008 - August 31, 2019 Governor
Harald Mahrer from September 1, 2018 President of the General Council
Robert Holzmann from September 1, 2019 governor

See also


In order of appearance.

  • Gunther Tichy: International economic and monetary trends - repercussions on Austria. In: The future of money - the money of the future. 23rd National Economic Conference 1995. Austrian National Bank, Department of Postal and Filing, Vienna 1995, pp. 88–109.
  • Anton Kausel: The economic rise of Austria in the OECD area since 1950 . Vienna 1998.
  • Eduard Hochreiter: The Current Role of National Central Banks in the Eurosystem . In: Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society . tape 28 . Vienna 2000, p. 300-308 .
  • Adolf Wala: From the Schilling to the Euro: Contributions to the contemporary history of Austrian economic policy and the Oesterreichische Nationalbank . MANZ'sche Wien, 2002, ISBN 3-214-10102-1 .
  • Elisabeth Olivares Díaz: Adaptation of the printing house to the representative headquarters of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank . Architecture and interior design in Vienna between the wars, 1923–1925. Vienna 2012 ( PDF [accessed September 1, 2014] dissertation).
  • Clemens Jobst, Hans Kernbauer: The bank. The money. The State. National Bank and Monetary Policy in Austria 1816–2016. Campus Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2016, ISBN 978-3-593-50518-3 .

Web links

Commons : Oesterreichische Nationalbank  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. New OeNB Governor Holzmann sees himself as independent. In: . August 31, 2019, accessed September 1, 2019 .
  2. ^ Austria Foreign Exchange Reserves . Accessed on January 28, 2017 (English)
  3. a b RIS-BKA : National Bank Act 1984 (NBG) in the current version.
  4. 1816-1818. Time of foundation and provisional. ( Memento from November 27, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) At:
  5. ^ Political laws and ordinances 1792–1848, No. 70/1816 (= pp. 190 f.).
  6. Political laws and ordinances 1792–1848, No. 71/1816 (= p. 199 f.).
  7. 1818–1878. The privileged Austrian National Bank. ( Memento from January 23, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) At:
  8. ^ S. Pressburger: Das Österreichisches Noteninstitut 1816–1966. Vienna, p. 163.
  9. ^ Austrian National Bank (building) in the Vienna History Wiki of the City of Vienna
  10. RGBl. No. 2/1863 (= p. 95).
  11. RGBl. No. 83/1868 (= p. 246).
  12. RGBl. No. 146/1868 (= p. 427 f.).
  13. RGBl. No. 31/1872 (= p. 89).
  14. 1878-1922. The Austrian-Hungarian bank. ( Memento from August 7, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) At:
  15. RGBl. No. 66/1878 (= p. 159 f.). See also No. 64 and No. 65/1878.
  16. Art. 206 and following, StGBl. No. 303/1920 (= p. 1116 ff.).
  17. Federal Law Gazette No. 490/1922 (= p. 951 f.).
  18. Federal Law Gazette No. 823/1922 (= p. 1607 f.).
  19. Federal Law Gazette No. 941/1922 (= p. 1954).
  20. Federal Law Gazette No. 461/1924 (= p. 1767 f.).
  21. GBl. Fd L. Ö. No. 9/1938 (= p. 26).
  22. GBl. Fd L. Ö. No. 10/1938 (= p. 26).
  23. GBl. Fd L. Ö. No. 89/1938 (= p. 153 f.).
  24. Yearbook for Economic History. New results on the Nazi upswing. Cites detailed sources that put the value of gold and foreign currency at RM 282–345 million at the time.
  25. 1945–1998. The Oesterreichische Nationalbank in the Second Republic. ( Memento from November 28, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) At:
  26. Gerald Schimpf in Fire Brigade Lens, issue 6/2019, page 22.
  27. 1999–. The Oesterreichische Nationalbank as part of the European System of Central Banks. ( Memento from November 27, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) At:
  28. ^ University of Vienna : Adaptation of the printing house to the representative headquarters of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank ; Retrieved on Aug. 22, 2017
  29. a b c Austrian National Bank in the Vienna History Wiki of the City of Vienna ; Retrieved on Aug. 22, 2017
  30. Elisabeth Olivares Díaz: Adaptation of the printing house to the representative headquarters of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank ; Diploma thesis, University of Vienna, 2012 ( online )
  31. 40 years ago the National Bank burned. In: . August 30, 2019, accessed August 30, 2019 .
  32. a b c TARGET. ( Memento from May 29, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) At:
  33. ^ General Council - Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB) . Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  34. a b c d e Glatz-Kremsner and Sidlo new OeNB General Councilors . Article dated February 21, 2018, accessed February 21, 2018.
  35. The press : Sidlo National Bank Mandate practices "temporarily out" , September 6, 2019 accessed March 23, 2020th
  36. a b Post: Which jobs will not be filled by the transitional government. July 2, 2019, accessed July 3, 2019 .
  37. a b c d e Kurier: The President of the National Bank could go to the FPÖ . Article dated May 15, 2018, accessed May 15, 2018.
  38. ^ WKÖ President Mahrer becomes the new National Bank President . Article dated August 22, 2018, accessed March 9, 2020.
  39. Three new OeNB General Councilors appointed. In: . March 4, 2020, accessed March 4, 2020 .
  40. ^ Directory. At: Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  41. a b Council of Ministers nominates new OeNB directorate . Federal Ministry of Finance, January 30, 2019.
  42. ^ Salzburger Nachrichten: Robert Holzmann fixed as the new National Bank governor . Article from January 29, 2019, accessed on February 2, 2019.
  43. a b c d How the FPÖ places its people in influential positions . Article of January 30, 2019, accessed on February 2, 2019.
  44. Ed. Oesterreichische Nationalbank: Die Oesterreichische Nationalbank since 1816 , Brandstätter-Verlag, Vienna 2016, p. 52 (note from the bank dated November 14, 2018)
  45. IMF: New Central and Eastern European voting group ( Memento from August 12, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  46. PLASTIC RULES THE WORLD - With 70 million customer and credit cards per year, Austria Card is one of the big players in this business
  47. Speeches and presentations. Speeches by Governor I. R. Dr. Klaus Liebscher. ( Memento from April 12, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) At:
  48. a b New appointments in the supervisory board . Article dated August 22, 2018, accessed August 22, 2018.
  49. ^ National Bank: Nowotny fixed as the new governor. ( Memento of the original from February 15, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. At:
  50. New National Bank leadership fixed. At:
  51. ^ Salzburger Nachrichten: Robert Holzmann fixed as the new National Bank governor . Article from January 29, 2019, accessed on February 2, 2019.

Coordinates: 48 ° 12 ′ 58.8 ″  N , 16 ° 21 ′ 16 ″  E