P?ublic Banking can become real ‘Third Force’ in Irish finance

7th November 2014




Friday 7th November 2014, Dublin.

Green Party Finance Spokesperson, Cllr Mark Dearey, has today spoken of the positive benefits that the introduction of public banking could have for the Irish financial market. The creation of a publicly-held banking network, acting as a competitor to the existing private commercial banks, would be a disruptive and much needed shot in the arm for the current arrangement. Cllr Dearey made his comments following a productive meeting with the founder and President of the Public Banking Institute, Dr Ellen Brown, who is in Ireland to participate in the Kilkenomics festival.

He also detailed the Green Party's efforts to achieve a degree of cross party support for the proposal, which is receiving the very significant technical support of the Sparkassen Savings Bank Group in Germany.

Cllr Dearey said: "This latest meeting builds on our work to introduce a new banking model to Ireland. Together with the Sparkassen Group, we have held a series of meetings with the main political parties and are looking forward to further engagement with Government, and to presenting it with a detailed concept document on how public banking might work in this country.

"A project of this complexity will clearly not be simple to implement, and any design will need to take account of the distinct characteristics of the Irish market, as well as complement existing local savings institutions. 

"The Sparkassen model has had many positive benefits for Germany, and I believe that it can be replicated here. The ambition is to establish a network of regional savings banks, possibly held in trust by Local Authorities, lending within the region only, to the SME sector and not to consumers.
"As publicly owned regional institutions with no shareholders, profit is retained to build core capital. Interest earned from regional lending, meanwhile, is re-loaned within the region. Thus, regional economic resilience is built up, and lending and risk management are informed by regional circumstances. In this way it is a return to traditional banking, based on knowledge of the applicant and the economic profile of the region."
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Chris GreenPress Officerpress@greenparty.ie
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