Model of a sustainable money system beyond the growth imperative? The Swedish JAK Bank has been offering interest-free savings, loans and banking services since 1965, with the aim of enabling an interest-free economy. More than 38,000 members of the cooperative bank save with interest-free savings accounts and can thus borrow money from the general fund for the cost of the administration fees only. The principle is simple: when savers forego income from interest, they also do not need to pay interest when they take a loan. Savings and loans are directly connected in the JAK system through this principle and the bank also encourages its members to have an active dialogue about this. The exponential effects of compound interest that are seen by many monetary critics as one of the most significant systemic causes of the redistribution of wealth and of the pressure for economic growth are circumvented by the JAK bank in a unique way. Their secret recipe: in place of interest there is the principle of complementary ‘savings points’, one of the JAK bank’s ingenious and highly developed processes of liquidity and time planning.
The savings and loans model of the JAK Members’ Bank: savings, loans, amortizing – all without interest.
The first concrete steps towards creating the JAK bank model were taken in the middle of the Great Depression of the 1930s. The bank finally established itself in 1970 and has continued to this day. In the meantime, it has been imitated in Finland, Italy and Spain. Also in Germany, where the roots of this idea can be traced back to the „Ausgleichskassen” (equalizing funds) during the Weimar Republic, there are new initiatives in Stuttgart and Freiburg. However, the JAK bank model is hardly known outside Sweden. Because the giving and taking of interest is forbidden in Islam, the JAK model in Sweden is apparently used by believing Muslims, who see that it offers them the opportunity to take part in the modern money system in a way that is compatible with their beliefs.
Ana Carrie (2001): How interest-free banking works – The case of JAK. In: FEASTA REVIEW Number 2, S. 149-154. Download: http://www.feasta.org/documents/review2/carrie2.pdf (247 KB)
Mark Anielski (2004): The JAK Members Bank Sweden An Assessment of Sweden’s No-Interest Bank.
JAK Boken /JAK Book (2009, Swedish, English, Italian): https://www.jak.se
JAK like models in Germany:
OZB Stuttgart Homepage: https://www.ozb.eu/
JAK like models in other countries:
JAK Denmark (JAK Danmark): http://www.jak.dk/
JAK Finland: http://www.jak.fi/mediawiki/phase3/index.php/Etusivu
JAK Italy (Associazione Culturale Jak Bank Italia): http://www.jakitalia.it/
JAK Spain (JAK España): http://bancasininteres.blogspot.dk/p/el-modelo-jak.html