Fiscal Agent

A term describing a central bank's role as an agent of its government's finance ministry or treasury department, in which the central bank issues, services, and redeems debts on the government's behalf.

In the U.S. the treasury department issues securities at auctions. In their role as fiscal agents, central banks often review, tabulate and summarize bids to purchase securities, issue securities to successful bidders, and process the purchasers' payments to the government. In emerging nations, central banks play more direct roles effectively acting as investment banks for their governments by lining up private individuals or firms willing to purchase new government security issues.