AG Sessions’ shot across the bow meets with protest from cannabis states


Photo by Valerio “Dokka” D’Introno


News of last week’s declaration by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he would rescind the federal policy that permitted cannabis growing in states where it had been legalized was met with vehement opposition from governors and other state politicians. This declaration poses a particular problem for banks daring to take cannabis cash. California Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate John Chiang — who recently held a Public Bank Cannabis Forumresponded:

"Until the slow, clunking machinery of the federal government catches up with the values and will of the people it purportedly serves, states — like California — will continue to both resist and, more importantly, to lead.”

The invigorating winds of states' rights in the face of regressive federal policies could fill the sails of the Public Bank movement. North Dakotans see their Bank of North Dakota as a triumph of state sovereignty — asserting local control over their own money.

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Portland: Public Bank fans want to get City Council on board


Photo by Zack Spear


Another city jumps forward in creating a municipal Public Bank. As Portland voted in April 2017 to stop investing city money in all corporations, and voted to stop banking with Wells Fargo, its City Council faces the same problem faced by many other cities pursuing ethical banking: big ethical banks accountable to the public don't exist.

Portland Public Banking Alliance is actively pushing the solution: create a Public Bank of Portland. 

“My hope is that a public bank would be a profit-making institution except the profit would be for public purposes,” says the Alliance's David E. Delk in a recent article in Next City:

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Ellen Brown: Student Debt Slavery, Part II: Time To Level the Playing Field


Photo by Joe Brusky


PBI Chair Ellen Brown continues her investigation into the student debt crisis in her latest article in Truthdig. To battle their way out of debt slavery, students need to know their rights and mobilize. Ellen calls on students to throw their weight behind state-owned banks, which would cut out private investors and predatory middlemen and lend on better terms. She writes:

“We need to free our students from the system of debt slavery that has financialized education, turning it from an investment in human capital into a tool for exploiting the young for the benefit of private investors. State-owned banks can make the loan process fair, equitable and affordable; but their creation will be fought by big bank lobbyists. An organized student movement could be an effective counter-lobby.

Debt and austerity are control mechanisms for subduing the people. We the people need to take back our power.

[Read the full article]

Check out the legislative and legal resources posted on our website


Photo by Caitlin Lin


For those actively working on Public Bank initiatives in your city or state, we now have many more resources to help you available on our website.

  • View examples of legislation being discussed in city and state governments around the country.
  • Read recent legal opinions that help navigate through the issues of law that inevitably are raised.
  • Review reports that detail the benefits of Public Banks.
  • And research the North Dakota statute that created the Bank of North Dakota.
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2018: The Year of the Public Bank


Photo by Ryan Hyde / Flickr

As the new year dawns, people around the country are waking up to the power of a Public Bank. Tireless work from PBI-affiliated grassroots Public Banking advocates around the country has brought this issue to the forefront at both state and city levels. Next City just described Public Banking as the #1 best urban trend of 2017, a trend we know will only magnify in 2018.

The Public Banking Institute has been featured in Nonprofit Quarterly as a key engine behind this growing national awareness. It notes, "as frustration with the financial services industry mounts, the public banking idea is gaining increasingly widespread support."

Prepare for a year of intense action as we present legislatures with answers, expound on the many reasons for Public Banks, and organize strong public community support. We will be redoing our website, producing short sharable videos, and updating all social media channels. Be sure you are connected to our current new Facebook page, revamped Twitter, YouTube, and Vimeo for all the work to come. We will need your support this year more than ever!


How do Public Banks work in Germany? Check out this video.

Public Banks make up 43 percent of banks in the economic powerhouse of Germany. If you add in local cooperative banks, a whopping 70 percent of banking in Germany is not-for-profit. Commercial banks such as Deutsche Bank account for a measly 12.5 percent of banking there.

So how do the Public Banks in Germany keep their economy humming? Check out the latest video about Sparkasse

San Francisco Bank is a great idea, city budget analyst concludes


Bank of North Dakota


A new article in 48 Hills shines light on the positive report issued in late November by the San Francisco Supervisors: 

“'A public bank would be better equipped to meet the city’s business needs and public policy goals,' concludes the City's budget and legislative analyst.

The idea is both well-established and profoundly radical. Today, San Francisco’s short-term deposits are in Bank of America, which holds about $130 million that’s used for payroll and other expenses. That giant North Carolina-based operation charges the city $780,000 a year in fees, the budget analyst reports.

Most of the city’s money – some $8.3 billion — is in fairly liquid investments, primarily US Treasury notes.

There is, in other words, plenty of cash to capitalize a municipal bank."

[Read the full article]

Ellen Brown: Student Debt Slavery: Bankrolling Financiers on the Backs of the Young


Photo courtesy Truthdig.


PBI Chair Ellen Brown delves into the mounting student debt crisis in her latest article series. Student debt has risen an astronomical 164 percent over the past 25 years, but median wages have gone up a mere 1.6 percent. She writes:

"Slavery by debt has continued to this day, and it is particularly evident in the plight of students. ...

The availability of federally guaranteed loans allowed colleges and universities to raise their prices to whatever the market would bear. By the mid-1970s, tuition was rising much faster than inflation. But costs remain manageable until the late 1990s, when the federal student loan business was turned over to private banks and investors with aggressive collection practices, converting federally guaranteed student loans from a public service into a private investor boondoggle."

[read the full article]

New head of NJ's Dept of Banking throws her weight behind a Public Bank


Photo courtesy WHYY


Governor-elect Phil Murphy has wasted no time in moving forward on his signature campaign pledge to create a Public Bank. He has chosen Assemblywoman Marlene Caride to be the next commissioner of Banking and Insurance.

“This, to me, is a wonderful idea,” Caride said. “It will help to support our small businesses. It’ll help our college students obtain loans at a lower interest level. And it’ll help us to fund small infrastructure projects in this state.”

[Read full article]

Will San Francisco be the first city to launch a Public Bank?


Photo courtesy S.F. Examiner


San Francisco's Board of Supervisors released a new report last week that puts SF strongly in the running for the first city in the nation to launch a Public Bank. As the San Francisco Examiner explains, Supervisors Malia Cohen and Sandra Fewer are advancing the idea of establishing a municipal bank, which would end The City’s use of profit-driven large national commercial banks for banking services. 

As Wall Street financial institutions come under increasing fire for their continued stream of fraud scandals and perpetual investments in dirty fuel, Public Banks are rapidly gaining traction as an ethical and profitable solution. “Within a few years, the municipal bank should be able to generate sufficient revenue to be able to cover its costs and serve as the primary financial institution for The City,” the report said.

The report also confirmed San Francisco has the legal authority to establish a Public Bank.

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