A Succesful Complementary Currency in Switserland
The WIR Wirtschaftsring-Genossenschaft (later: WIR Bank) was founded in 1934 to provide a way for small and medium businesses to continue trading during the economic crisis when nobody had money. Thus, it invented the WIR currency (a complementary currency). One WIR equals one Swiss Franc. Since 1936, the WIR Bank has had the bank status, which made it possible to steer the total amount of money in circulation.
Through the WIR system, companies can trade among each other, paying in either WIR, Swiss Francs or a combination of both. From 2000 onwards individual customers can open saving accounts, profit from pension products in CHF and obtain loans, but the WIR-system is still for enterprises only. In 2008, the WIR Bank has implemented an internet banking system. Today, the WIR system has about 60,000 participants. The WIR Bank operates seven branches plus one agency across Switzerland. At the end of 2011, the balance sheet totaled 3.9 billion Swiss Francs. In 2011, the WIR Bank made profits of almost 12 million Swiss Francs/WIR.