Vladimir Lenin’s

Theses on Banking Policy

Written: March or April, 1918
Publisher: Progress Publishers
First Published: Proletarskaya Revolutsia Magazine, No. 6 (53), 1926
Online Version: marx.org 1997; marxists.org 1999
Transcribed: Conal Tuohy
HTML Markup: Brian Baggins and David Walters

Theses on Banking Policy were approved at one of the meetings between Lenin and bank employees that took place in March and April 1918. The theses were drawn up by Lenin in the form of minutes, with notes on the results of the voting on the various points and any special opinions expressed by those taking part. The Decree on the nationalisation of the banks was passed on December 14 (27), 1917 by the All-Russia Central Executive Committee.

A report to be compiled of what has been received in private banks, including in the report the liquidation of all affairs of each private bank. (Unanimous.)

On the question of how to draw up the report, the following opinions expressed:

The former staff (the Commissariat for the State Bank having the right to remove some employees) of each private bank will be given an ultimatum requiring them to put in order in a very brief period of time all the affairs of the bank and to draw up a balance sheet in final form, firstly for December 14, 1917, and, secondly, for the last day of operations.

Private banks, in fulfilling this function of compiling reports and liquidating all affairs of the bank, act exclusively as branches of the united People’s Bank of the Russian Republic and only for the purpose of liquidation, without carrying out any new operations. (Hanecki and Gukovsky and Lenin.)

Special opinion of Spunde:

The balance sheet for 14:XII:1917 should be drawn up by a special commission appointed by us.

No need to draw up another balance sheet.

Further operations, as from 14:XII:l917, to be carried out in the name of the People’s Bank.

All private banks, and also the State Bank, to be declared the united People’s Bank of the Russian Republic.

All the work of compiling reports to be under the supervision of the Commissariat for the State Bank.

The largest possible number of experienced collaborators to be invited, including former employees of the State Bank and private banks. (Unanimous.)

Banking policy, without being confined to nationalisation of the banks, must gradually but steadily be directed towards converting the banks into a single apparatus for accounting and regulation of the socialistically organised economic life of the country as a whole.

Spunde and Lenin in favour.
Gukovsky against.
Ganecki abstains, considers this impossible to carry out.

Extraordinary measures for opening the largest possible number of branches of the People’s Bank throughout the country.

These branches to be located in towns and villages so as to provide greatest convenience for the public.

Existing branches of former private banks to be used as branches of the People’s Bank.

Declaration of inviolability of deposits (which, of course, does not diminish the right of the state to levy taxes).

Free circulation of cheques.

Full preservation of workers’ control with regard to withdrawal of money from the banks.

Limitation of withdrawals of money for consumer purposes to be retained.

A series of improved facilities for the public to be introduced for the purpose of accelerating deposits of money in the banks and withdrawal of money from the banks, as well as simplification of formalities.

Adoption of measures so that the population should keep in the banks all money not absolutely necessary for consumer purposes. Preparation of a law and practical steps for compulsory implementation of this principle.In their activity, all branches of the People’s Bank within the bounds of the Federative Russian Soviet Republic are to be guided strictly by the instructions and directives of the central board of management, without having the right to establish any local rules and restrictions. exceptions are permitted only with the consent of the central board of management.