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What is the International Monetary Fund? 10 Things You May Not Know

Updated on September 5, 2012

1) The Primary Purpose of the IMF

1. The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) primary purpose is to, as stated on the IMF website, “ensure the stability of the international monetary system—the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries (and their citizens) to transact with one other.” It provides assistance and advice to member countries and promotes balanced global economic trade.

2) The IMF was created in 1945 at the end of World War II

It was partly created out of a need to prevent economic crises.

3) 188 countries are currently members

IFM members are represented through a quota system that is based on their relative size in the global economy.

4) As of August 2012, the biggest borrowers from the IMF are Portugal, Greece, and Ireland

The IMF is typically known as a lender of last resort.

5) The IMF is a specialized agency of the United Nations

It collaborates with other organizations to promote growth and poverty reduction.

7) The IMF is established with money paid by taxpayers around the world

It receives “quota” contributions from its members based broadly on their relative size in the global economy.

9) Since early 2010, much of the IMF’s focus has been on Europe due to the sovereign debt crises

At the time, European countries were unable to agree on a purely European solution to Greece’s immediate debt needs. Since then, the extent to which the IMF should be involved in the European sovereign debt crises has been a controversial topic.

10) Christine Lagarde is the first woman to run the IMF

She was chosen in 2011 to succeed former director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

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    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks for the great info, most of which I didn't know.

    • Koshaugh profile imageAUTHOR

      Kara Monterey 

      6 years ago from Indianapolis

      Those are some great ideas for providing more information and I'm certainly interested in writing more about this topic! Thanks for the advice!

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      6 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Interesting insofar as it gives basic information you might not know already. Could you elaborate on the fact that Greece, Ireland and Portugal are the biggest borrowers, (their past financial history before joining the 'Eurozone', their spending track-record...) OR give us portraits of the former directors with a 'spotlight' on Christine Lagarde as the first woman director? (Background, lead-up to appointment, suitability - or not - for the post and that sort of thing). I think you could make a lot more of this with 'pie-charts' perhaps, of the ratio of countries who've needed its services compared with the member countries who have contributed in some way without return. You know the sort of thing, pencil and notebook, whizzing through the Internet and digging up details, bio's etc. Good luck!

    • Koshaugh profile imageAUTHOR

      Kara Monterey 

      6 years ago from Indianapolis

      Thanks! I'm glad you found it helpful!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      6 years ago from southern USA

      Very informative hub. In His Love, Faith Reaper

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