Fritz Zurbrügg: Credit, debt and growth

Speech by Mr Fritz Zurbrügg, Vice Chairman of the Governing Board of the Swiss National Bank, for the Collegium generale lecture series, University of Berne, Berne, 1 November 2017.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
02 November 2017

The speaker would like to thank Till Ebner, Rita Fleer and Adriel Jost for their support in drafting this speech. He is also indebted to Robert Bichsel for his valuable comments and the SNB Language Services for their assistance.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Returning to one's alma mater is always a special occasion. It was 28 years ago that I completed my doctorate here at the University of Berne. Since then, my professional career has taken me to a variety of places, but there has always been one topic accompanying me on the way: the topic of debt. In my first job at the Federal Finance Administration at the end of the 1980s, I was charged with analysing the Latin American debt crisis. Then, at the end of the 1990s, working for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington D.C., the emphasis was on resolving the debt crisis in Asia. Back in Switzerland, my efforts went into implementing the debt brake at federal level. And even switching to the Swiss National Bank (SNB) in 2012 was no escape. The European debt crisis had a major impact on the Swiss franc exchange rate and on our monetary policy. In addition, we at the SNB are very carefully monitoring the risk to financial stability inherent in the rise of mortgage debt in Switzerland.