Public banking updates. Reports from LA, from the nation’s capitol on public banking: D.C. feasibility study soon to be released

Four new articles endorse a public bank for LA #YesOnB  posted by  | 8gb September 13, 2018

Los Angeles

Photo courtesy Public Bank LA

Los Angeles’ ballot initiative for public banking continues to generate many excellent articles about public banking. Their cogent arguments apply to public banking in general, but as Phoenix Goodman writes in the LA Progressive, “Rarely does the constituency of a city have such profound weight of power in their hands to alter the history of the world.” Read the articles below:

Cory Doctorow in Boing Boing:

“The City of Los Angeles sends the nation-wrecking finance industry more than $100MM/year in the form of fees and penalties for its banking business, supporting the institutions whose racist lending practices, financial engineering and mortgage fraud have wreaked untold harm on the city’s residents.”

Glenn Daigon in Who. What. Why.:

“The vote on the measure could have implications far beyond the city or even California. If the proposal passes this November, it could jumpstart other efforts by cities and states around the nation that are currently considering setting up their own public banks.”

David Jette for Public Bank LA:

“Los Angeles has 44 departments and bureaus who manage $5,549,000,000 in annual revenue collected from tax, fee and fine payers, as much as the whole country of Iceland. At any given time, there is an average of $45 billion in public money sitting in various operational accounts, reserve funds or short- and medium-term investments. That money is currently held in accounts at commercial banks, where it earns next to zero interest. The city paid over $109 million in annual and transactional fees to these commercial banks last year. The banks then use these deposits to bolster their own lending activity, earning interest for their shareholders.”

Phoenix Goodman in LA Progressive:

“Rarely does the constituency of a city have such profound weight of power in their hands to alter the history of the world. On November 6th Charter Amendment B will give the people of Los Angeles that power. If you wanted a revolution, here you have it, now go get it.”

Oakland Finance Committee unanimously recommends the public bank feasibility study be moved forward to the full City Council

City of Oakland Finance Committee

City of Oakland Finance Committee

The City of Oakland’s Finance Committee accepted the Public Bank Feasibility Study and staff report, and recommended placing it on the full City Council’s agenda so that all Councilors may have an opportunity to discuss the report and options. 

Watch as banking experts, elected officials, and advocates alike give overwhelming support for Oakland’s public bank: VIDEO (note: link takes a bit of time to load).

The feasibility study author, a banking expert, and stakeholders from the community spoke in support of moving forward with a full business plan to answer the questions that were not addressed in the study.

Letters and statements of support were submitted by the Mayor of Berkeley, a member from San Francisco Public Bank Task Force and representative from the County of Richmond requested that Oakland continue to explore with them a regional public bank option.

All four Finance Committee members spoke in support of further exploration of a regional public bank option (Abel J. Guillén ,Annie Campbell Washington, Noel Gallo and Dan Kalb), supported further exploration of an East Bay Regional Public Bank option, and recommended that the Feasibility Study be placed on the City Council agenda so that all Council members may have an opportunity to participate in this important discussion.


D.C. Public Banking Center

Ruth Caplan with the DC Public Banking Center writes of the fantastic organizing energy happening now around public banking in D.C.:

“This year has been the coming out party for the DC public bank campaign. The DC Council’s FY18 budget included $200,000 to conduct a feasibility study for a DC public bank. Now the study is soon to be released. …”

“The DC Public Banking Center has been advocating for a public bank since 2012, building our base and our expertise. We formed a strong advisory committee, including nationally known figures like Gar Alperovitz. We also built the support of endorsing organizations ranging from Green America nationally to Ward3Dems and DC4Democracy locally, along with grassroots advocates like EmpowerDC and ONEDC.

“Over the past several years, the DC Divest campaign has also taken off, targeting Wells Fargo which has the city government’s banking contracts. Calling for the city to move its money to local banks, they became DC Reinvest but then realized that local banks don’t have the capacity to take on the $2 billion in city deposits. Now they are advocating for a public bank. Their organizing energy is fantastic.

“When the RFP for the feasibility study was released, DCPBC put together a team of highly qualified consultants ready to bid; however, it turned out that the bidding was restricted to pre-approved small, minority businesses. NIMBUS, a local consulting firm, was awarded the contract. They in turn have subcontracted with Econsult Solutions out of Philadelphia which has much national experience.

“Over the last four months, DCPBC has played a very active role whenever there has been an opportunity for public input. Steve Seuser, on the DCPBC steering committee and an expert on affordable housing, was one of three panelists at public meetings run by NIMBUS. There has also been a series of focus groups on specific topics related to the public bank proposal where those of us on the DCPBC steering committee have been able to play an active role.

“Assuming that the feasibility study opens the door for a public bank, the next step will be a business plan laying out details such as capitalization of the bank, method of appointment and make-up of the Board of Directors, the role for public input regarding public bank priorities, and steps for moving the DC government’s funds into the bank.

“To get the necessary political buy-in, we are further gearing up our public campaign by bringing together key organizers and opinion leaders in the city for a major strategy session in early October.”

To get involved with the DC Public Banking Center campaign, go to their Facebook pageTwitter, or their website.