VIAC and WIRBank

I wanted to know your opinions on this article on Blick( ) and what does it mean for people who are invested with VIAC?

Blick is not really a good source for any information really. It’s a sensationlist “Boulevard” news paper without much substance.

Anyway the issues with the WIR have been known for quite some time now, I rember my old CEO complaining about the exact issues in this newspost 5 years ago.

In regards to VIAC I don’t think it would have much effect on them if the WIR collapses. Check out WIR banks balance sheet for 2018: the amount of CHFWir is shrinking slowly and does not represent a significant amount. They also have enough Eigenkapital CHF to replace all of the outstanding CHFWir. Maybe someone wiht more experience reading balance sheets can chime in here.

I like to look at the Terzo Vorsorgestiftung as seperate entity which functions independently, however I cannot see this anywhere. With most of our assets hopefully invested in stocks at VIAC, they are in our name and can be transferred (in theory) to another entity should WIR > Terzo > VIAC fail. I’d like to think the 3 entities listed all have failsafes in place

VIACs partner is Terzo Vorsorgestiftung der WIR Bank, not WIR Bank Genossenschaft itself. Technically, it should be of no concern if WIR Bank goes bust. Reality is though, that Vorsorgestiftungen are often heavily entangled with the underlying company, e.g. WIR Bank might manage their operations and there might be substantial financial ties (legally allowed up to 10% of Terzo’s assets). Unfortunately, it seems Terzo is not publishing their financial reports. It would certainly be a mess if WIR Bank goes bankrupt, and yes, let’s assume Terzo goes bankrupt too (or more realistic, has to liquidate a substantial share of their assets short-term which will require restrictions).

Technically what happens is:

  • Your cash is not secured, but privileged in debtor rank 2. So you might get something out of a bankruptcy proceedings, but it would take for ever and I would not count on that.
  • Your assets however are yours, but you likely lose temporary access to them. They are with Credit Suisse anyway and not with Terzo itself, under your name and transferrable.

In short: Keep your money invested and your fine. If you keep cash… well, let’s say I would not keep my cash with Terzo myself

Here is what VIAC is saying on this by the way: VIAC FAQ

Also pinging @VIAC, maybe they want to add something on this

PS as mentioned by @Joey: WIR money in circulation seems to be some 700 Million, which only accounts for around 13% of WIR Bank’s total assets. In other words, WIR as a currency might go bust, but even WIR Bank itself might survive that. However, note that VIAC might be a separate entity, but they are only your/our asset manager. Your concern is indeed Terzo failing, not VIAC.


For me, the fact that WIR bank does/supports things like VIAC, Savings Accounts with the best interest rates a couple of years back and so forth is good news. They do not rely on the business model from back in 1934 as many other banks do.

On the other hand, WIR bank does not change CHFWir back to CHF. So even if the system were to collapse and CHFWir would be worthless, I see 115M of CHFWir debits and 677M credits in their balance sheet. I would actually love to have this position in my own currency.

It goes without saying that banks which offer high interest rates are generally traying to attract new capital. This typically hints at poor performance i.e. higher risk. In the case of WIR bank, as a merchant bank which caters directly to SMEs, its performance is strongly linked to the performance of Swiss SMEs. That is particularly true for the WIR franc, which is a community currency used by participating Swiss SMEs. Both are likely to fluctuate along with the SME sector, but demand for WIR francs is also impacted by globalization. As for WIR’s readiness to deviate from the 1934 banking standard (by renouncing bank customer privacy, for example): it opens new avenues for shorter-term/higher-yield investments, but also hints at desperation to bring in new capital, in my opinion. I use VIAC for part of my 3a portfolio and I see WIR Bank as a good avenue for investing in Swiss SME. I wouldn’t personally invest my full 3a allowance through one company, but that’s just me.

Here is the latest interview from the CEO of WIR with mention of the VIAC compagny owned 40% by WIR bank. Article is more optimistic. It seems the blick article has particpated in the drop of WIR bank shares

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