The I.M.F. is a multilateral organization set up in 1944 by the Allies to help support currencies and trade flows after World War II. Based in Washington D.C., the I.M.F. receives funds from member nations that are then lent to countries that need financial help. The loans, often disbursed in several tranches, are contingent on the borrowers carrying out economic policies favored by the I.M.F.
This often leaves the I.M.F. vulnerable to criticisms from two camps: those who think its loan conditions are too tough and those who say they are too weak.