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The International Monetary Fund

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Since its creation in 1945, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has grown from 45 member countries to 184. The IMF has often been compared to a credit union because it loans funds to member countries from the pooled resources of all the members. The general resources account contains the bulk of these funds. Quotas, usually reviewed every five years, set the maximum amount countries are called to contribute to the general resources account and determine member countries’ voting power. Votes such as the quota reviews usually made every five years can require a majority of up to 85%. Special drawing rights, the IMF’s unit of account, are valued as a weighted average of currencies from the U.K., the euro area, the U.S., and Japan. The interest rate on special drawing rights, a weighted average of three-month bond rates in the same regions, determines the general resources account’s basic interest applied to IMF loans.

Suggested citation: "The International Monetary Fund." Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Trends, no. 04-03, p. 8-9, 03.01.2004.

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