Pennsylvania's public banking movement draws the support of the Black Business Review and key cities

Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh, PA. Photo by Igor Oliyarnik.


Black Business Review’s Marilyn Kai Jewett writes favorably of Pennsylvania’s public bank movement at both the state and municipal levels. A strong municipal public bank coalition has also developed in Pittsburgh, similar to Philadelphia's Neighborhood Networks; and Mike Krauss, chair of the state level Pennsylvania Public Bank Project, reports that efforts are underway to introduce legislation in the PA General Assembly for a state public bank modeled on the Bank of North Dakota.

Kai writes in the local Philly paper Scoop USA that public banking is a “good idea”:

“The Pennsylvania Public Bank Project’s … mission is ‘the creation of a network of public/partnership banks in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to provide affordable credit for locally directed economic development and jobs creation, sound municipal finances, the reduction of public debt, affordable education, home ownership and a strong local banking industry.’”

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The New York Times asks, could public banks help cities keep their money away from Wall Street?

Santa Monica

Santa Monica, CA. Photo by Julian Howard.


In Tuesday's New York Times, Jill Cowan writes an update on the surging public banking effort in California, which has pushed the Public Banking Act, AB 857, through the state’s Assembly and on to the Senate. Cowan quotes Assemblyman David Chiu, one of the bill’s authors:

“Currently California cities turn over hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to our country’s largest Wall Street banks, who invest our money in industries antithetical to our state’s values and policies. This is an idea driven by millions of consumers who in recent years have experienced predatory lending, foreclosures, student loan debt, lack of access to small business capital and having millions of fake bank accounts opened in their names.

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Public Banks are safer than Wall Street

AB 857


In an on-target article in Medium, David Jette, legislative director for Public Bank LA, responded to a negative review of AB 857, California's Public Banking Act, by the Los Angeles Times editorial board. His article evidently hit its mark, because the bill has passed the California Assembly and is now in the Senate, despite the Times editorial. Jette’s effective comeback has been widely shared on social media, showing you can push back against Wall Street. Advocates with the California Public Banking Alliance are now asking the public to help generate more support in the Senate to pass the bill and put it on Gov. Newsom's desk. It will be heard in its first Senate committee on Wednesday June 19.  

Jette writes: 

“Wall Street banks want us to keep relying on megabanks while ignoring their track record of excessive risk and ethical transgressions. They point to long-past efforts to found public banks in the US, while staring right past the devastation their industry has caused for the climate and for working people. Why do we rely on privately owned, shareholder-focused firms with little accountability and a history of catastrophic greed and error when another model is so successful in North Dakota, Germany, Costa Rica, and elsewhere?

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NYC needs a public bank

Counting room of the Bank of North Dakota

Counting room of the Bank of North Dakota. Photo Charles Edward Russell.


Local New York City magazine City Limits features a public banking overview in this week’s edition, describing for readers “what you need to know”: 

“What’s different about a public bank? 

“Because they do not serve shareholders, public banks can use their financial power to further the public interest. Proponents say a public bank wouldn’t charge fees solely to generate profits, and would refrain from investing its deposits in industries like fossil fuels, instead harnessing its financial strength to build infrastructure and offer banking services more widely.”

[Read the full article]

Video spotlight: “How the banks force us from productivity into poverty”

In this short video presentation, public banking advocate Mack Arrington shows how poverty and injustice are fueled and enforced by the very design of the banking system itself. His talk is a good example of how volunteer advocates can make an impact by presenting to local groups. He argues: 

“Our current money system forces us to borrow all our money into existence and pay interest, which keeps us in debt forever.”

The Public Banking Act "AB 857" passes the California Assembly!

AB857 passes CA Assembly

AB857 passes CA Assembly. Photo courtesy Assemblymember Miguel Santiago.


The Public Banking Act, "AB 857." has taken public banking a historic step forward in passing the California Assembly today 41 Aye's to 26 No's. The bill now proceeds to the CA Senate.

Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, the bill's co-author, tweeted “The CA Assembly just sent a historic message to Wall Street banks that we're going to put people over profits - not the other way around.”

California Public Banking Alliance co-founder Trinity Tran tweeted, “This is California’s moment to take the lead in creating a banking option that will strengthen rather than extract profit & resources from our communities.”

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New Book by Ellen Brown! "Banking on the People: Democratizing Money in the Digital Age"

Banking on the People


PBI Chair Ellen Brown has just published her latest book. It is titled Banking on the People: Democratizing Money in the Digital Age, and is published by the Democracy Collaborative. Ellen introduces the book’s intent:

“We are living in revolutionary times … an auspicious time for a revolution against an international banking oligopoly that has long held the world captive. Bankers are the gatekeepers controlling who gets credit and on what terms, extracting massive profits that they can invest for their own speculative purposes, while people and governments are crippled by debts they cannot possibly repay. Fixing the banking problem requires more than regulation that merely tweaks an obsolete system. We need a radical overhaul of the monetary system itself, and that means rethinking what money is and how it enters the economy.”

The book is available now through IndieBound, Amazon, Amazon KindleBarnes & Noble and elsewhere.

New study shows monetary policy has a significant impact on income inequality

monetary policy and inequality study


Central bankers have argued that their post-crisis quantitative easing policies have had only modest effects on inequality, and have benefited low-income households by restoring growth and increasing employment levels. But a new study by Mehdi El Herradi and Aurélien Leroy for DeNederlandscheBank contradicts that argument. Following an expansionary monetary policy shock, the share of national income held by the richest 1 percent actually increases by approximately 1 to 6 percentage points, according to estimates from the Panel VAR and Local Projections. Monetary policy has a significant impact on income inequality. The authors also state, “The increase in [the] top 1 percent’s share is arguably the result of higher asset prices.”

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Video spotlight: Keiser Report asks why not a public bank?

In a still-relevant December 2015 interview titled “Why Not a Public Bank?”, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert talk to Simon Dixon of FinTech investment platform about the banks’ current monopoly on creating money and the future of banking. In the second half (starting at 12:40 min), Sandeep Jaitly of explains a very interesting alternate version of a public banking system.

[Watch the video]

The Public Banking Act AB 857 has been sent to the floor of the California Assembly for a full vote

Public Banking Act AB 857 Lobby Day in Sacramento

Public Banking Act AB 857 Lobby Day in Sacramento. Photo courtesy Assemblymember Miguel Santiago.


California’s Assembly Bill 857, now called the Public Banking Act, sponsored by the California Public Banking Alliance has made it through three committees, including the “notoriously difficult” Assembly Appropriations Committee, and is now up for a full vote on Assembly floor. Despite heavy opposition from Wall Street’s biggest banks, the bill advanced with “unprecedented” support from over 100 major cities, unions, and grassroots organizations. The Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, became the latest co-author to sign onto the bill, saying:

“This measure is long overdue. We need to take the profit out of banking in order to invest in our communities that have been left behind by Wall Street. This approach to public banking allows our local governments to explore forming their own local or regional public banks.”

Joint author Assemblymember Miguel Santiago tweeted, “No one works harder to fight Wall Street and pass the Public Banking Act than this incredible coalition. #AB857 #PublicBanksNow.”

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