UPDATE 1-Radical Swiss financial reform campaign faces defeat

ZURICH (Reuters) – A radical plan to transform Switzerland’s financial landscape by barring commercial banks from creating money when they lend looked set to fail, according to initial projections on Sunday. FILE PHOTO: Members of the sovereign money initiative, a referendum campaign that would abolish traditional bank lending and allow only money created by the central bank, clean up after spraying a slogan on the Swiss National Bank (SNB) in Bern, Switzerland, April 27, 2018.
The slogan reads “Dear Swiss National Bank, please remember why we founded you”. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File PhotoSome 75 percent of voters had rejected the so-called Sovereign Money initiative according to initial forecasts from pollsters gfs.
Bern. A final result is expected around 1500 GMT.
Concerns about the potential risks to the Swiss economy by introducing a “vollgeld” or “real money” system appear to have convinced voters to reject the proposals. “We are pleased, this would have been an extremely damaging initiative,” said Heinz Karrer, president of business lobby Economiesuisse.
Related CoverageReal money initiative fails after lack of support from cantons: Swiss broadcasterThe vote, called under Switzerland’s system of direct democracy after gathering more than 100,000 signatures, wanted to make the Swiss National Bank (SNB) the only body authorized to create money in the country. Contrary to common belief, most money in the world is not produced by central banks but is instead created by commercial lenders when they lend beyond the deposits they hold for savers.
FILE PHOTO: Swiss 1,000-franc notes are seen in this picture illustration taken February 16, 2016. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich/Illustration/File PhotoThis arrangement, underpinned by the belief that most debts will be repaid, has been a cornerstone of the global capitalist system but opponents say it is unstable because the new money created exceeds economic growth.
If approved Switzerland, famed for its banking industry, would have been the first country in the world to introduce such a scheme, leading opponents to brand the plan as a dangerous experiment which would damage the economy. The plan, if accepted could have had repercussions beyond Switzerland’s borders by removing a practice which underpins most of bank lending in the world.
Support for reform had grown in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis, with campaigners saying their ideas would make the financial system more secure and protect people’s savings from bank runs. FILE PHOTO: A member of the sovereign money initiative, a referendum campaign that would abolish traditional bank lending and allow only money created by the Swiss National Bank (SNB), offers flyers to travellers at the central railway station in Zurich, Switzerland May 3, 2018.
The poster reads, “Who should produce our money? Sovereign money yes – Swiss francs from National Bank only”. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File PhotoBut opposition came from the Swiss National Bank, Swiss government and business groups.
Herbert Scheidt, chairman of the Swiss Bankers Association, said the financial sector had shown humility since the crisis, and the system had been made “very secure.” “The arguments we had against the initiative, that it would upend the entire monetary system, convinced the public,” he told Swiss broadcaster SRF.
” Campaigners said they would continue to work on raise their concerns, despite their support slipping to 25 percent from 42 percent earlier this year. “The discussion is only just getting started,” said campaign spokesman Raffael Wuethrich.
“Our goal is that money should be in the service of the people and not the other way around and we will continue to work on it.” .

 

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