State treasurer lauds Swiss bank settlement

"There was little progress until we held the Swiss banks accountable and applied pressure. The pressure brought the banks to the table, committing to a global settlement."

Last summer, Fong triggered international news coverage when he imposed a moratorium on all of California's investments in Swiss banks to protest Swiss handling of the issue of dormant Holocaust-era bank accounts.

In December, Fong was asked to serve on a committee of state and national finance officials. The committee oversees Swiss banks' progress in returning assets to Holocaust victims. Also in December, Fong agreed to suspend California's moratorium on investments in Swiss banks until earlier this week, with the qualification that he could reinstate the moratorium if he failed to see further progress.

Two weeks ago, Fong sounded a warning to the Swiss banks when he publicly urged his colleagues on the oversight committee to demand that the banks agree to a settlement, a timetable and a victims' fund component of any agreement. The implicit threat was that if the banks did not agree by the end of March, sanctions would again be imposed.