We are an international campaign seeking to replace the exploiting, corrupt and crisis-ridden financial sector that we suffer under today, with a democratic public banking service.
Democratic: in that it should be transparently governed by its stakeholders – by accountable representatives of bank customers and policy holders, bank and finance sector staff, small business and community organisations; and the wider public via ministers and parliaments
Public: in that our finances should be held in common ownership through public institutions, co-operatives and user groups, rather than by a super-wealthy elite
Service: in that the primary purpose of the financial sector should be to help its customers and the community as a whole, not to profit at our expense and gamble with our futures
The idea of creating a democratic public banking service inevitably raises a number of important questions which our Campaign is organising discussions around. Such questions include:
How could a public banking sector be integrated into a democratic plan for investment and development?
What would the role of co-operative and mutual banks, credit unions, insurance and pension funds be in such a transformed financial industry?
Based on the efficient and democratic principle of ‘if you are affected by a decision you should have the chance to be involved in making it’ what would be the best way to make the governance of a public banking service transparent and accountable to its stakeholders – the banking staff, bank account customers (individual and small/medium enterprises), insurance and pension policyholders, local communities, pressure groups, and the population as a whole?
What positive results could be achieved by ending the lavish profit-taking, waste, duplication and unnecessary operations of the existing private banking and financial sector? What could be done with the huge sums currently lost to fraud, high salaries, bonuses and commissions; the expensive property tied up in thousands of lookalike high street branches; or the huge marketing budgets wasted on promoting virtually identical services?
How could the tens of thousands of financial industry staff at local and national level that would be released in a more efficient and rational sector be better utilised in providing support services such as genuine advice and financial assistance for individual and small business account holders?
What benefits could be delivered to individual account holders, savers, borrowers, insurers and pensioners such as through reduced charges and better interest rates. To small and medium sized businesses with cheaper loans, lower charges, genuine assistance etc. To credit card holders via a reduction of interest rates and the introduction of cheap public credit cards; and for card handlers with minimised transaction costs.
How could the financial sector be part of a massively expanded innovation service – helping and encouraging innovators with research, development and production?
How could the principles of a democratic public banking service be extended on an international level?
How to bring the private creation of money and debt under public control – the challenge of financial innovation, shadow banking and so on – and to integrate virtual currencies and digital credit so that their advantages are fully realised.
What steps need to be taken to win public support for a democratic public banking service and to put it into operation? How to bring all the stakeholders together to discuss and flesh out detailed proposals and thereby to identify the main actors in a future democratic public banking sector