PBFI Newsletter – Nov 2017 – Community/Public Banking

Seamus Maye PBFI Joint Chairman & Harald Felzen from the Sparkassen Foundation the SBFIC

Joined Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio 1,

Tuesday morning 21st Nov. for a debate on Public Banking.

 Click on Image for 14min Debate or watch >> Here

They discussed

• Public Banking –

• The German Sparkassen Public Bank Model Vs Ireland’s 3 Commercial Bank monopoly.

• Interest Rates; Ireland Vs Germany.

• The Credit Unions – Unfair perception & media coverage; Only 1% of CUs had issues Vs complete collapse of our Commercial Banks.

• The PBFI solution involving the Credit Unions & Post Offices.

The Info Graphic above shows that the same price house in Germany would cost €121k less; Interest is 17.45% of the Principle in Germany Vs 60.25% in Ireland.


Comprehensive Public Banking System Proposed for Ireland:

Presented to Finance Committee 12/10/17

Public Banking Presentations Start at 2:27:00 of Oirechtas Video.

Link to Oirechtas Video >> here 

Committee Chairman John McGuinness TD


• Joint Presentation by Irish Rural Link and SBFIC (Sparkassen Foundation)

Niclaus Bergman CEO of SBFIC & Seamus Boland IRL

• Presentation by The Public Banking Forum of Ireland (PBFI)

Seamus Maye – Joint Chairman & Spokesperson for the PBFI

The start times of PBFI contributions were;

• Presentation at 2:44:30

• through Chair at 3:41:00

• through Chair at 4:9:00 (Seamus speaks on the Kiwi(Post)Bank model for An Post & the Post Office network)


Creating Ireland’s Alternative Banking Force – PBFI Preliminary Proposal Launched March 2017

 The Graphic below is the basis of the PBFI Proposal. 

The PBFI envisions an extensive role for the Credit Unions & the Post Offices in the new system:

Read ‘Creating Ireland’s Alternative Banking Force’ >> Here

PBFI Joint-Chairman Seamus Maye speaking in EU Parliament –

The Need for Community Banking in Ireland


Minister of State Ring Consultation on Local Community Banking

The PBFI submitted its Preliminary Proposal “Creating Ireland’s Alternative Banking Force” to the consultation process.

PBFI Submission click >> here 

This document will be updated shortly after planned meetings with key stakeholders.


An Post & the Post Office Network have options:

An Post & the Post Office network also have the option of developing the Kiwi(Post)Bank model as proposed by the PBFI in Aug 2017. (See proposal below)


PBFI Proposal on the Future of Post Offices and An Post:

Issued by the Public Banking Forum of Ireland 28/8/2017

Some 500 to 700 Post Offices are in immediate danger of closure and An Post’s future is precarious. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel if Government, An Post & the Postmasters are willing to embrace it.

The launch of An Post’s NEW Smart Current Account is a significant development and could be the important first step in securing the future of the Post Offices & An Post.

Yes, An Post is now offering their own Current Accounts. This development has the potential for so much more if progressed along the lines of the Kiwi (Post) Bank in New Zealand. Established in 2002 Kiwi (Post) Bank now has over 12% of the overall banking market on the island of 4 million people, a model which could be replicated in the Republic of Ireland.

This concept has already been presented to the Dáil and was passed. The motion, outlined hereunder, was placed on behalf of the Rural Independent Group by Mattie McGrath TD & Michael Healy-Rae TD. The Rural Independent Group also includes Michael Collins TD, Noel Grealish TD, Michael Harty TD, Danny Healy-Rae TD & Michael Lowry TD.

Post Office Network: Motion [Private Members] Wednesday, 16 November 2016
— implement a new community banking service operated by An Post to be made available in all post offices throughout the country – this post community bank should be based on either the New Zealand Kiwibank model or the German Sparkassen model, both of which have been found to be valid models;

Ellen Brown, President, Founder and Senior Advisor of the U.S. Public Banking Institute had the following to say in her article

‘The Kiwibank Model: Postal Banks to Serve Local Communities’ –

“… Postal banks are now thriving in New Zealand, not as a historical artifact but as a popular new innovation. When they were instituted in 2002, it was not to save the Post Office but to save New Zealand families and small businesses from big-bank predators. By 2001, Australian mega-banks controlled some 80% of New Zealand’s retail banking. Profits went abroad and were maximized by closing less profitable branches, especially in rural areas. The result was to place hardships on many New Zealand families and small businesses.
Suddenly, New Zealanders had a choice in banking. In an early “move your money” campaign, they voted with their feet. In an island nation of only 4 million people, in its first five years Kiwibank attracted 500,000 customers away from the big banks. It consistently earns the nation’s highest customer satisfaction ratings, forcing the Australia-owned banks to improve their service in order to compete.”


The Kiwi (Post) Bank option is possibly the last chance to save Ireland’s Post Offices & An Post. Rising stamp/postal cost prices are not sufficient to save them; the problem is much bigger.

We must consider that in Ireland the Commercial Banks have over 95% of the market, whereas in Germany the Commercial Banks including Deutsche Bank & Commerzbank AG have only 12% of the market. 70% of German Banking is provided by Community Banks, lending locally to the productive economy, without engaging in speculation or securitisation. Community Banks in Germany have a 200 year history; they have built & continue to fund the 4th biggest economy in the world and have never needed any taxpayer’s money.

There is no reason why An Post & the Post Office network could not take its rightful share of the banking market in Ireland and secure their future. Your local Post Office could become your local community bank and part of the proposed comprehensive publicly owned banking network which would include SME focused Community Banks and also the Credit Unions, together providing an alternative and competition to the current commercial banking monopoly.

Please lobby your local political representative to support, promote and implement this initiative before it is too late.

The PBFI also propose that An Post Bank become the primary administrator of Mortgage Credit for first time buyers of the average priced house, for those on the average wage. This service can be provided for a nominal percentage administration fee as opposed to charging interest for the life of the mortgage.

The current mortgage process works as follows; the customer signs a ‘loan contract’, legally this is considered to be a ‘promissory note’ (a promise-to-pay or a security), the bank is purchasing this security. It then owes the customer the said amount in the contract; but the bank does not pay-out. They just record it as a ‘credit’ in the record of their debts. No money is transferred from elsewhere.(1) The bank simply types this ‘credit’ into an account for the customer. We use this credit as money and the bank charges interest on it. The bank puts nothing of actual value into the transaction. The only value in the transaction is provided by the customers ‘promise to pay’.

The banks are essentially gouging huge sums of interest payments from the public for merely administering the nation’s credit, on which they have a total monopoly.

Lessons must be learned from the crash of 2008 and the subsequent private commercial bank bail-out; a recurrence, or the export of another generation is not an option. The current private commercial banking system fully controls our credit system and thereby controls and shapes our economy. We desperately need a banking system that works in the public interest and supports the local economy, as opposed to the current risk-prone, profit-maximising and shareholder return focused commercial banking duopoly.

PBFI Executive:

Website: www.RepublicIrelandBank.com
E-mail: admin@republicirelandbank.com
Twitter: @IrlPublicBanks

1. Reference Professor Richard Werner 2014/2016:



Prof. Richard Werner – Dublin Conference –

Banking Industry Exposed


Solutions Presented

April 2016

Link to Conference Video:

Prof. Richard Werner – Dublin Conference


Financial Institutions that Serve the Real Economy.

Dr Thomas Keidel,

German Savings Banks Association DSGV

12 min Video >>  YouTube 


What drove the Financial Crisis?

A Banking crisis into a Sovereign debt crisis.

Dr Thomas Keidel –

the German Sparkassen Savings Bank Association.


Local Public Banking System for Ireland ‘Concept Document’ has had a limited released.

The ‘Concept Document’ for the Local Public Banking System for Ireland is now with the Department of Finance and the Political Parties. Public banking is in the current programme for government. 

An excellent document produced by the Savings Bank Foundation for International Co-operation (SBFIC). The SBFIC is the not-for-profit foundation and is part of the German Public Savings Bank Group, the Sparkassen. The Sparkassen has 403 independent Public Banks in Germany with 15,000 branches and 50 million customers. They supply 75% of all start-up lending to SMEs and are the backbone of the German economy.

The not-for-profit SBFIC assists countries worldwide to setup or develop their Public Banks similar to the 200 year old, proven, German Sparkassen system. Currently they are working on 5 Public Bank projects in Europe and on 32 projects in 31 developing countries worldwide.


The Current System in Ireland:

Today in Ireland, three banks have over 95% of the market. Banking is now more concentrated than it was before the crisis. These banks now have the guarantee of a Bail-in should they falter again.

When will we be held to ransom again?

The actual cost of sustaining the current financial system. Prof Steve Keen

Extract below taken from Chris Menon’s interview with Prof Steve Keen

Link to Video Interview.

Q. Much of the reforms that you recommend are predicated on reform of the banking sector, cutting the banking sector down to size. How realistic is that given the nexus between the political class and the banks….?

Professor Steve Keen

A. “We have to break that political nexus, it’s false, because the reality is, finance is a cost of doing business; it’s not a profit centre. Finance of course has to make a profit in its own right to be viable; you need a financially successful profitable banking sector. But you don’t need one that’s 30 and 40% of the profits of the economy, because at that level it’s actually syphoning off money being generated in the real production, of the industrial sector, the agricultural sector and the mineral sectors. Ultimately the financial sector should be the servant of the rest of the economy not the master. But at the moment it’s the master of not just the economy but of the politicians as well. So to break the nexus, we need a complete political shift…..“


The PBFI – Banking in the Public Interest!

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