Established by a royal charter on 19 November 1846 to act as a commercial bank and issuing bank, it came about as the result of a merger of the Banco de Lisboa and the Companhia de Confiança Nacional, an investment company specialised in the financing of the public debt. The bank issues legal tender that is designated as the national currency – the real until 1911, the escudo from 1911 until 1998, and the euro since 1999.
Following its nationalisation in September 1974 and its new Organic Law , the Banco de Portugal was, for the first time, responsible for the supervision of the banking system.
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