The Bank of North Dakota has released its 2018 annual report, in which it announces its 15th consecutive year of record profits with $159 million in net earnings. The state’s return on investment at the Bank was a dramatic 18 percent. Its consistent success in the face of an oil bust that has crippled most oil states shows that the BND's success is not, as critics contend, “all about oil.” Its stellar record stands on its own and attests to a more efficient business model than its private competitors.
The report contains important details for public banking advocates. BND’s press release states:
“The report’s theme, 'ROI,' highlights the Bank’s returns to the state in its first 99 years. Since the initial investment of $2 million in 1919, BND has returned more than $1 billion to the state through the general fund, infrastructure, disaster relief and other special programs. That doesn’t account for the thousands of North Dakota residents who have benefited from its agricultural, business, home and student loans.
“‘Throughout its history, the Bank has identified and played a key role in solving the funding needs of the state,’ said Gov. Doug Burgum.”
On April 2, ten legislators in Maine cosponsored a bill to create a commission to establish a state bank. Sponsored by Sen. David Miramant, SP 452 would establish a commission called the State Bank and Tax Reduction Commission tasked with making recommendations and suggesting legislation for an organizational framework for “establishing a state-owned bank and tax rate reduction policy.”
The commission would have 12 voting members, 2 ex-officio voting members, and 11 nonvoting members with year-round staff support. The bill allows for the commission to continue until December 2030 — over ten years.
Over 100 organizations have signed on to endorse California’s Assembly Bill 857, a bill that would enable municipalities to more easily charter a public bank. Advocates with the California Public Banking Alliance have worked diligently to gain the support of labor and community organizations, elected officials, and local governments across the state. These organizations represent over 3 million Californians standing in support of public banking.
The bill is being heard today, Thursday, May 16, in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. A parallel bill, Senate Bill 528, which would convert the existing California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank from a revolving fund to a true depository public bank, is being heard the same day in the Senate Appropriations Committee. If these bills pass those committees, they will head to the floors for votes early next week.
The Alliance is asking Californians to call their Assemblymembers to vote Yes on AB 857.Read more
David Jette, legislative director of Public Bank LA and California Public Banking Alliance, has been working intensely to bring public banking to California and he shares his invaluable insights on It’s Our Money. World-renown economist Dr Michael Hudson is the next illustrious guest on the podcast and he explains why forgiving debt is essential to a healthy economy. Co-host Walt McRee introduces the latest two episodes:
Getting to Yes
What’s it like to start a public bank in 2019, one hundred years after the last one? What steps and impediments are discovered along the way and what succeeds? Today’s guest, David Jette, reports on the substantial progress being made in CA after several years of studying and initiatives for creating public banks. Current proposed state legislation seeks to transform an existing state agency for infrastructure and another seeks to open the regulatory path for municipal public banks – both represent the sort of challenges other proponents face around the country. And for karmic and comic relief, we get a visit from Swami Beyondanonda who reviews our civic prospects with inscrutable common sense.
And Forgive Them Their Debts
The backdrop of debt is so ubiquitous that we seldom stop to think about what devastation it causes in our personal and public lives. Today’s guest, world-renown economist Dr. Michael Hudson, knows. Debt’s role in destroying economies and nations dates back to ancient times when rulers understood that public debt needed to be periodically forgiven in order to maintain order and economic stability. But today conditions have actually gotten worse as the uber-powerful financial elite the world over prey on the worker economy for the sake of personal profit, infiltrating government decision-making that keeps them and their profits in control. It’s a sobering assessment not to be ignored and a wake-up call for citizen education and action.
Video spotlight: TYT interviews Los Angeles public banking advocates Carlos Marroquin and Josh Androsky
In this newly posted TYT The Conversation segment, Cenk Uygur interviews filmmaker Zefrey Throwell, and Los Angeles public banking advocates Josh Androsky, and Carlos Marroquin, who are featured in a new documentary called Free Parking. Carlos shares his story starting at minute 3:52.
The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted April 23 to throw its support behind California’s Assembly Bill 857, which would help enable cities to form their own public banks, and to explore the legality of creating a public bank for the county. The influential county joins the rapidly growing list of municipalities across the state supporting the landmark bill.
Nadia Lopez in the San Jose Spotlight quotes Supervisor Cindy Chavez, who said, “I think we have an opportunity for being able to use public dollars better and also comport ourselves more as a public benefit corporation.” She added that frustrating challenges with banks such as Wells Fargo and growing national attention on the prospect of a public bank system both contributed to her support.Read more
In a guest column in the San Francisco Examiner on Earth Day, April 24, Robyn Purchia took the opportunity to explain why San Francisco should use every tool at its disposal, including public banks, in its efforts to radically change the culture that has brought us to the current state of climate emergency. Purchia writes:
“[A] public bank could serve people and the environment better than traditional, profit-motivated financial institutions. It could enable developers to build more affordable housing near jobs, which can also reduce traffic, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and suburban sprawl. It could fund more solar panels and green infrastructure projects, which would create more jobs.”
Bernard A. Lietaer was a former Belgian central banker, a Research Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, and an international expert in the design and implementation of currency systems. He unfortunately passed away in February, but his videos on YouTube are revolutionary and worth tracking down. In this eye-opening video, he exposes the disturbing real mission of central bankers. He reveals:
“The reason I left the Central Bank was a conversation I had with the Secretary General of the Bank of International Settlements. … They told me, literally, … ‘We exist, the central banks exist, the IMF, the world bank exists only for one purpose: to keep the system going as it is, not to improve it. It is the lobby for the status quo. It was created in the 19th century because the deal that the banking system got was the best they ever could get, so [they] create[d] an institutional framework that freezes that reality forever. [They are] an active lobby that no one sees as a lobby.”
Success for AB 857 and SB 528: California's two public banking bills both advance in the 2019 legislature
On April 24, California’s two pending public banking bills, Assembly Bill 857 and Senate Bill 528, both passed their second committee hearings in the state legislature. SB 528, which would convert California’s existing Infrastructure and Development Bank into a true depository bank, passed the Senate Banking Committee; while AB 857, a bill to more easily enable cities to charter public banks, passed the Assembly Local Government Committee.
AB 857 passed its first hearing in the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee on Monday, April 22, after a robust debate between the bill's co-authors, Assemblymembers David Chiu and Miguel Santiago, and Wall Street lobbyists. Susan Harman from Public Bank East Bay and the California Public Banking Alliance reports that at the committee hearing yesterday, April 24, a “cliff-hanger, last minute, crucial Yes vote” came in to pass the bill.
The success followed an enormous groundswell of support for AB 857 from over 80 organizations (Facebook link) across California that have united to say yes to public banking. The Alliance posted:
“The power of the people triumphs over Wall Street lobbyists! Thank you to our powerful coalition of activists and advocates who came out to support the public banking movement!”
Nomi Prins, author and former Goldman Sachs banker, writes in Truthout of the crucial need for public banks:
“[I]t is more important than ever to create public banks tasked with using state and local funds for public good, not private profit. And my home state of California is leading the way. A new bill, AB 857, backed by the California Public Banking Alliance would give cities the freedom to start public banks accountable to the communities they serve. ...
“Public banks would allow cities to professionally manage their money without sacrificing their values.”