Unlimited state guarantee of cantonal banks

Hi, I’ve been wondering why do not some of cantonal banks (namely, Bern, Geneva and Vaud) benefit from unlimited state guarantee (protection over 100k+), what’s the story behind that if there is any? Was it the case before? Thanks.


"Some cantonal banks in Switzerland offer an unlimited guarantee for your money because they are owned or supported by the local government (canton), which provides a high level of financial security. These banks are known as cantonal banks or “Kantonalbanken” in German.

The guarantee is essentially a form of insurance provided by the government, ensuring that depositors’ funds are safe even in the event of the bank facing financial difficulties or going bankrupt. This unlimited guarantee is seen as a way to instill confidence in depositors and maintain stability in the local financial system.

The rationale behind this guarantee is to prevent bank runs and to ensure that individuals and businesses continue to have trust in the banking system. By offering an unlimited guarantee, depositors are assured that their funds are safe and that they can access them whenever needed, without fear of loss.

However, it’s important to note that not all cantonal banks offer unlimited guarantees, and the specific terms and conditions may vary from one bank to another. It’s always advisable for depositors to carefully review the deposit insurance coverage provided by their bank and understand the terms and limits of the guarantee."

Not sure I was clear enough in my question, I was wondering why 3 out of 24 (I believe) cantonal banks (VD, BE, GE) are not offering this kind of guarantee (ie. they go by standard rules)? What’s the story behind this deviation?

As always, google is your friend. Here is the history of cantonal banks. In summary, these three banks had in the past to call upon the state for help. For two more (AR, SO) the canton could not help so they dissapeared.

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Very interesting history. Never noticed Solothurn had no cantonal bank.

And the unlimited liability should have a…limit, such as % of the cantonal yearly revenue. Otherwise, the bank is too big for the canton save as the figure in the article shows.

Small cantons fine, but the cantonal bank of Luzern has deposits for ~1500% of annual canton expenses. Unlimited state guarantee of deposits is closer to dream than reality in case of need.

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Thanks, interesting! (Searching in a local language pays off apparently)

It’s always best to search in the local language whenever possible.


It would be interesting to check which cantonal banks have the best state budget coverage and lowest fees for a savings account=)