A combination of art and socially motivated stunt, HSCB is selling printed ‘banknotes’ to raise cash to buy back local people’s debt
While banks disappear from many high streets, in Walthamstow in north-east London there’s a new financial institution in town: Hoe Street Central Bank – HSCB for short.
HSCB is not your average bank but what its founders call “an act of citizen money creation”. It prints its own money in the form of beautifully designed banknotes, sells the banknotes to people in exchange for legal tender, and plans to use the proceeds to buy back £1m of debt owed by residents living in the E17 postcode.
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Artist Hilary Powell and her husband, filmmaker Dan Edelstyn, launched the project in a former Co-op bank on Walthamstow high street earlier this year. They hope to raise £50,000 in order to buy back the debt. So-called ‘bad loans’ can be written down to a fraction of their original value when they reach the secondary market. “We want to demystify economics,” said Edelstyn. “Knowledge and community are power.”
A recent survey by Positive Money, a body that campaigns for a fair and sustainable money system, revealed that 85 per cent of MPs don’t know how money is created in our economy. In fact, 97 per cent is made by commercial banks in the form of loans. Just 3 per cent is created by the Bank of England and the Royal Mint as cash.
We want to demystify economics. Knowledge and community are power
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