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Sweden’s War on Cash: News from the Frontlines

May 10, 2013 in Economics

By Joseph Salerno

Three of the four largest banks in Sweden continue to phase out the manual handling of cash at their branch offices at a rapid pace, according to recent data reported today in Naringsliv, a leading Swedish Money and Finance newspaper insert. Taken together, Swedbank, Nordea, and SEB, have stopped offering cash services at their branches at the rate of three branches per week since 2010. Thus during the period 2010-2012, cash disappeared from 465 Swedish bank branches. At Swedberg bank, only 75 of its 340 branches still handle cash.

Leif Faithful, Head of Financial Infrastructure at the Swedish Bankers’ Association, believes that eventually all Swedes will need a bank card and sees this development as beneficial to “both consumers and trade.” Odd that he does not mention the great benefit to the banks of revenues generated by the cards and the fact that with few bank branches paying out cash it makes fractional-reserve banks much more secure against bank runs during crises generated by the credit expansion of these same banks. Nor does he mention the obvious benefits from the spread of electronic transactions that will accrue to the Swedish government, which will have much greater ability to snoop into and monitor the private financial dealings of its citizens

Fortunately, one heroic Swedish bank among the largest four, Handelsbanken, has resisted this pernicious trend toward abolishing cash and empowering the government and the fractional-reserve banking cartel at the expense of the public. From early 2010, Handelsbanken has actually increased the number of its branches that handles cash and today all 461 branches do so, but with a limit of $15,000.

HT to Per Bylund.

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