The World Bank is the term used to describe the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The bank was founded in 1944 as part of the Bretton Woods agreement, and was intended to provide the financing and financial advice needed to rebuild those economies damaged by World War II. Its activities are currently focused on fighting poverty by increasing the income of the lowest-earning groups around the world.
Those countries who are members of the bank are required to also be members of the International Monetary Fund. Member countries have voting powers within the bank that match their contributions to it. The World Bank does not compete with commercial banks for lending opportunities, but uses commercial lending criteria when evaluating the viability of prospective lending arrangements.
The bank's headquarters are located in Washington, D.C. and it has more than 120 offices around the world.