Monday April 8 was an action-packed day of citizens' lobbying for #AB857 in Sacramento. The California Public Banking Alliance gathered advocates from all corners of California to talk public banking with legislators.
As posted by the Alliance: “Wall Street banks have proven that their interests are not aligned with California's communities. It's time for a solution.” Advocate Madeline Kelly Merritt posted the group received an incredible response.
CPBA is urging advocates of public banking to sign this letter of support for #AB857 to be sent to CA Assembly and Senate legislators.Read more
While we receive virtually nothing on our deposit accounts in interest payments, which currently average a mere one-tenth of 1% per year, banks themselves are earning 2.4% on their deposits at the Federal Reserve. Why are the banks getting all this money while taking absolutely no risk?
As PBI Chair Ellen Brown explains in her latest article in Truthdig:
“That means we, the taxpayers, are paying $36 billion annually to private banks for the privilege of parking their excess reserves at one of the most secure banks in the world—parking them, rather than lending them out.”Read more
The Public Banking Institute is pleased to announce that Marc Armstrong has returned to PBI as its newly named Development Director, after doing public banking outreach for five years in the divestment and cannabis legalization movements. Marc will be responsible for developing educational programs that identify ways for the public banking movement to address regenerative economics, financial inclusion, and wealth / income inequality, applying different kinds of public banking models and tools. Outreach will be made to organizations particularly that serve the public by prioritizing environmental and economic justice.
The latest episode of It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown looks at the global picture of public banking with London expert Thomas Marois. Co-host Walt McRee describes the episode:
Global Proof of the Public Option
The success of publicly-owned banks around the world should give broad encouragement to US state and local governments looking for some financing relief on their growing debt loads. Today’s guest, Thomas Marois, a Senior Lecturer at the University of London, is an expert on the impact that public banks have on economies and societies. His study of public banks shows both the efficiencies and stability these banks provide, as well as the important role democratic participation plays in bank operations. Our lone US public bank, the Bank of North Dakota, is celebrating its first 100 years and reflects the same values and benefits as its global siblings. But its birth years were anything but stable and make a colorful story of politics, personalities and pushback from the banking industry. We take a third visit on BND’s historical trail with author and historian Mike Jacobs.
Like the US economy, the UK economy is grappling with rapidly accelerating inequality and a collapse in investment in the main street economy as the financial sector dominates. In response, the Labour Party has issued a major new report proposing a “new public banking ecosystem” that includes postal banks.
Christine Berry, one of the report’s authors, describes the proposal in The Independent:
“The first pillar of this ecosystem is the proposed National Investment Bank, supported by a network of 12 Regional Development Banks. … We recommend that the bank’s activities should initially be focused around three “missions”: greening the economy, regional rebalancing and economic democracy. Together, these missions address the real crises of our time … : an economy skewed towards unaccountable elites that is failing to provide good lives for most of its citizens, and the real and present dangers posed by climate change.”
PBI Chair Ellen Brown was featured on a recent episode of the Thom Hartmann Program:
Public banking is on the rise. Is this the solution to banks in the future? She says:
“We have one state bank — the Bank of North Dakota — and it has proved the model: it is safe, effective, it has saved a lot of money for the government, it has never been caught in corruption, and it operates at much lower cost than private banks. Globally there are close to 700 public banks with assets of $40 trillion, a conservative estimate. Local public banks are huge globally and they could fund a lot of things that people are in favor of that we haven’t managed to get our private banks to fund.”
On Friday March 29, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson and Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Paul Koretz introduced a motion to support AB 857, state legislation facilitating the establishment of public banks by cities and counties. The state bill was introduced March 19 by Assemblymembers Miguel Santiago and David Chiu and is sponsored by California Public Banking Alliance.
Strong support from a city with the influence of Los Angeles is a significant step in building momentum to pass the state bill. Public bank winds are building quickly in California, and it's said that "where California goes, the country follows." California's success could set the stage for public banking to sweep across the rest country.
The California Public Banking Alliance is organizing a public banking lobby day in Sacramento on April 8 in support of AB 857. You can register for this action here.
Advocates from San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Santa Rosa, San Diego and Los Angeles will talk to lawmakers and staff face-to-face about public banking. A bus from Los Angeles to Sacramento will be available.
Details from Public Bank LA: Join us for an action-packed day of citizens' lobbying as we make the rounds to legislative offices to make our voices heard. Yes to public banking and yes to AB 857!Read more
On Monday Oregon state representatives held a public hearing for HB 3169, a bill filed late February by Rep. Pam Marsh and Rep. Ken Helm that would create a self-contained state chartered banking system for the cannabis industry in Oregon. The bill proposes a network of financial institutions separate from the federal banking system, which has locked out cannabis businesses as being illegal under federal law. A similar bill brought earlier in California died in the legislature, but Oregon is pressing on undaunted. A work session has been scheduled for April 8.
According to a report by Mike Maharrey in the Tenth Amendment Center:
“HB3619 would authorize banking institutions and credit unions to organize as limited charter cannabis financial institutions. Cannabis businesses would be able to deposit funds in these institutions and write ‘special purpose checks.’ … These checks could only be deposited or cashed at the issuing cannabis limited charter bank or credit union, or another cannabis limited charter bank or credit union that agrees to accept the check. This would keep the entire process outside of the federal checking system known as the automatic clearing house (ACH).”
How to rally the troops: Philadelphia’s public banking campaign started with like-minded groups and churches, before moving to City Hall
To build a campaign to create a public bank takes a good deal of planning and on-the-ground networking at any level. Philadelphia recently held a very successful lobby day at City Hall, the culmination of several years of work by local organizers.
Conni Bille of Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks describes to PBI how the group approached the work and built toward its positive results, concluding:
“Councilmembers were very receptive since candidates on the campaign trail have been eager to talk about their support of public banking. We anticipate the awarding of the public bank study contract shortly and look forward later this year to pushing for enabling legislation, in the confidence that the study will identify a roadmap for creation of a bank.”