The SNB - partner of the business sector and the community

Hans Meyer, Chairman of the Governing Board

Zürcher Volkswirtschaftliche Gesellschaft, Zurich, 17.03.1999

In his speech Hans Meyer investigates to what extent the National Bank, as a partner of the business sector and the community, can contribute to steady real economic growth, a high employment level and adequate price stability in Switzerland.

As an independent central bank, the National Bank conducts Switzerland's monetary policy. In conjunction with fiscal policy and competition policy, this creates the fundamental framework for the development of the economy. The National Bank is obliged by Constitution and statute to act in accordance with the interests of the country as a whole. It gives precedence to the goal of price stability, particularly since this is an essential prerequisite for growth, prosperity and the prevention of unemployment.

Even though banking supervision in Switzerland in the narrow sense is not a task vested in the National Bank, the latter shares responsibility - in cooperation with the Federal Banking Commission and the federal authorities - for the integrity and stability of the financial system. By pursuing a stability-oriented monetary policy, it can make the best contribution towards a favourable framework for the financial system.

Closer international cooperation is also necessary for balanced economic development. As the national economies become increasingly interconnected, disruptions are transmitted more easily. Quite obviously, this is a challenge that lies outside the responsibility - and beyond the scope of action - of the National Bank. It is, however, perfectly able to contribute to a solution with the means at its disposal. By implementing a stability-oriented monetary policy, playing a part in international monetary policy and by introducing measures designed to safeguard the stability of the system, the National Bank acts as partner to the business sector and the community. This, however, is subject to the condition that its policy rests on a social consensus.