Although the bank has existed under its current name since 1945, it is a continuation of two previous central banks of Poland, both named simply Bank of Poland (Bank Polski). The first one was founded in Warsaw in 1828 by Prince Franciszek Ksawery Drucki-Lubecki. An institution of the government of the Kingdom of Poland, it was entitled with issuance of the Polish currency as well as control over the credit rates. It was also entitled with a concession to operate foreign currencies and buy off credits issued by foreign companies and banks.
During the Second World War the gold reserves of Poland were transferred to Great Britain and Canada. After the war, a bill for over 68 million pounds sterling, covering the equipment and operating costs of the Polish Air Force in Great Britain, was paid from the Polish gold reserves deposited in Canada. In 1946 the very small part of prewar gold reserves were returned to Poland's new communist authorities, while the former Bank of Poland itself was closed down and finally in 1952 absorbed by the newly created National Bank of Poland.
The latter was one of two banks allowed to operate in Poland's postwar planned economy. It had a monopoly for currency, credits and cumulation of savings. The other bank, PKO Bank Polski, was responsible for private accounts. After the fall of the communist system in 1989, the market economy was reintroduced and the NBP limited its functions to currency control and supervision of other, privately controlled banks.
The structure and functioning of the National Bank of Poland are regulated by article 227 of the Constitution of Poland of 1997 and the National Bank of Poland Act of the same year. The President of the NBP is appointed by the Sejm, at the request of the President of the Republic of Poland, for a term of six years. The NBP President is responsible for the organisation and functioning of the National Bank. The same person cannot serve as President of the NBP for more than two terms of office. Apart from his function as the superior of the NBP staff, he is also the chairman of the Monetary Policy Council, the NBP Management Board and the Commission for Banking Supervision. He is also responsible for representing Poland in international banking and financial institutions.