The recent banking crisis involving the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and the emergency rescue of Credit Suisse shows that our banking and financial system is too fragile. It can, and often does, break easily, and when this happens, it impacts all of us.
Bank failures are more dangerous to the public than other types of business failures, because we all rely on banks to keep our money safe and to make our payments.
Sadly, as history has repeatedly shown us, governments and central banks will always have to jump in to make sure that banks are doing a good job of keeping our money safe. The fact that state institutions need to step in to save these banks with taxpayers money is simply not right. We shouldn’t have to bail these banks out! Instead we should reform this fragile system so that it serves public interests over private interests.
Money and payments systems are important public goods – so why are they not treated as such?
Financial firms should be regulated more actively as providers of essential services. We also need an alternative, safe and public banking option, so that our ability to access our money and make payments isn’t dependent on the health of profit-maximising private banks that can hold us to ransom if their bets fail.
The digital euro could be an opportunity to re-establish money and the payment system as truly public goods.
It would ensure that all households and businesses have direct access to fully risk-free public money, ending our reliance on banks to access our money. It would put an end to questions of moral hazard by ensuring that the public good of the payments system is protected from the risk-taking of private banks.
In simple words: it’s time for a public banking option!
We will keep advocating for our right to safe money and payments, without depending on “too big to fail” banks.