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Jiří Rusnok wins Governor of Year in Europe award

2 Jan 2018

Czech National Bank Governor Jiří Rusnok has won another prestigious award. The renowned monthly The Banker published by the Financial Times Group has named him Central Banker of the Year in Europe for 2018. The jury praised the way in which the exchange rate commitment was ended without inducing market shocks. Another reason given by the judges was the subsequent return to conventional monetary policy, which, combined with tighter macroprudential measures, helped prevent a property market bubble.

The international magazine The Banker, owned by the same publisher as the renowned economic daily The Financial Times, has been reporting information from the global banking and financial sector since 1926. The award is decided on by the editorial board and a jury of renowned economists and bankers. Former Governor Miroslav Singer received the same award for 2014.

“I am very honoured to follow in the footsteps of my predecessor Miroslav Singer, who won this award for introducing the exchange rate commitment four years ago. For me, the smooth exit from the commitment is a reflection of the team spirit and courage of the Bank Board, the CNB’s outstanding expertise and the excellent cooperation between all the departments involved. The award is for me proof that we succeeded in carefully considering and preparing the exit from the exchange rate commitment. Transparent communication, which has become one of the CNB’s attributes, has paid off again. I view the award as another expression of trust in the Czech central bank and as international recognition for the courage it has shown to go down previously unexplored and not always popular monetary and macroprudential policy paths,” said Governor Jiří Rusnok in response to the award.

The CNB took the decision to keep the exchange rate close to CZK 27 to the euro in November 2013. This came one year after it had pushed its key interest rate down to zero, thereby exhausting the room for easing monetary policy in a conventional way. The CNB became only the third central bank – behind those of Israel and Switzerland – to use the exchange rate as a monetary policy instrument. The CNB ended this regime in April 2017 without inducing major market fluctuations.

In 2016 and 2017, the CNB also tightened its recommendations for banks regarding mortgage lending. Under its statutory mandate to maintain financial stability, it thus responded to the emergence of an upward spiral between property prices and demand for mortgage loans. The CNB Bank Board also decided to increase the countercyclical capital buffer rate two times last year in response to rapid growth in bank loans. The purpose of this buffer is to create a financial buffer in good times for periods of economic downturn.               

The Banker is the second foreign journal to have honoured Governor Jiří Rusnok for the smooth exit from the exchange rate commitment and for financial stability policy. In October last year, Jiří Rusnok was named Central Bank Governor of the Year for Central and Eastern Europe 2017. The award was bestowed on him by GlobalMarkets, the newspaper of record at the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The same award was also won by former CNB Governor Miroslav Singer in 2013. Two years later, the Czech central bank won the Central Banking Transparency Award for its openness and use of new communication tools.

The Banker award was won by Russian central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina last year and by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney in 2016.

Marek Zeman
Director, CNB Communications Division