Essentially, the Bank seeks to influence reserve policy among the central banks of members. It has historically had less power to do so than it deems necessary. Current head Andrew Crocket has bemoaned its inability to "hardwire the credit culture" - stating this as an objective.
The Bank sees this as necessary to address specific concerns with growth of Offshore Financial Centres (OFCs), Highly Leveraged Institutions (HLIs), Large and Complex Financial Institutions (LCFIs), deposit insurance and the spread of money laundering and accounting scandals.
A "well-designed financial safety net, supported by strong prudential regulation and supervision, effective laws that are enforced, and sound accounting and disclosure regimes," are among the Bank's goals. In fact they have been in its mandate since its founding. Critics of capitalism, including notably figures with unique experience like George Soros, argue that there is no will to enforce such regulation in the present competitive financial industry, where effectively nations compete to offer less regulation.
Doubts about the Bank's mandate, its program, its effectiveness, and the desirability of any existing institution taking the lead role in accounting reform, especially in light of serious failures of money-laundering law enforcement, major breaches of prudence and supervision in the United States (e.g. Enron), have led to some minor critique of the BIS in the anti-capitalism and anti-globalization movements.
For instance, its attempts to "hardwire the credit culture" ignore the efforts of ecological economics to tie that credit culture to the science of ecology, and means of measuring well-being. The Bank seeks predictability, say its critics, rather than true sustainability. Criticism has been muted in comparison with that focused on IMF, the World Trade Organization and World Bank policies, however.