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In the first decades of the 20th century there were several projects for the creation of a central bank in the country; however it was not until 1940 that these initiatives took a legal form in the Constitution of the Republic, passed in that year.
The project for establishing a central banking system took eight more years before being embodied in a Law in 1948, and two years later, in 1950, a central bank started to operate under the name of Banco Nacional de Cuba.
After the triumph of the Revolution, in 1959, an important event took place with the passing of Law No. 930, of February 1961, which parallely centralised in Banco Nacional de Cuba the central and commercial banking functions carried out in the country at that time. A year before, in 1960, national and foreign banking entities had been nationalised.
The economic situation of the country worsened in the early 90’s, mainly due to the effects of the international crisis, the disappearance of the socialist system in the countries from East Europe and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, as well as the fall of sugar prices in the international market and the strengthening of the economic blockade imposed by the United States of America.
As of 1992, the Cuban Government took the decision of applying an economic strategy which would allow to detain the sharp downturn that the economy had been undergoing until that date and to start to gradually revert it as well as to maintain the macroeconomic balance, improve the prevailing production and management system and make up the country’s own development scheme according to its needs and characteristics.
Several important economic, organisational and normative transformations were gradually carried on. Among the decisions adopted stood out the decentralization of foreign trade; the creation of the Unidades Básicas de Producción Cooperativa, (UBPC) (Basic Units of Cooperative Production) by giving the land in usufruct to the workers of state farms; the opening of agricultural, industrial and handcrafted markets; the free holding and circulation of foreign currency and broader opening to foreign investment, among others, which implied a larger number of economic subjects demanding, in the banking environment, provision of faster universal services at national and international levels, and the need to count on new monetary policy instruments which may allow to attain stability of the economy and of the economic entities’ interaction.
As a result of the transformations carried out, it became necessary to adopt legal and organisational decisions in the national banking and financial system to enable its adjustment to the current economic conditions.