Sante Fe Task Force reports no insurmountable issues, heard public input at Public Bank forum


Photo by Glen Van Etten


The City of Santa Fe’s nine-member Public Bank Task Force, appointed by Mayor Gonzales and the Santa Fe City Council, held a Public Forum this week and invited input from the general public.

Public Banking Institute Board Member Nichoe Lichen was among those presenting and gives this report: 

On Nov 20th, the City of Santa Fe’s Public Bank Task Force hosted a 2 1/2 hour public meeting to share their findings at the mid-point of a very intense, six-month process, and to listen to the public’s vision for what a Public Bank could do for Santa Fe. The public was also asked to respond to the idea of an Altruistic Bank, where the public could deposit their private funds (the German Sparkasse model).

Chair, David Buchholtz opened by summarizing the Legal questions identified in the thorough legal memorandum prepared for the City, and reported that while some legal issues like the anti-donation clause may need further investigation, none appeared to be insurmountable.


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CA Lt Gov candidate Gayle McLaughlin declares CA needs a Public Bank

171121_mclaughlin_public_banks_1026.jpgAnother high-profile politician running for office in a powerful state takes a strong stand for creating a Public Bank. Gayle McLaughlin, former mayor of Richmond and no stranger to standing up to Wall Street, declared last week that California needs a Public Bank saying, “Our Money, Our Power!” 

McLaughlin writes: 

“A Public Bank of California would be a great way for us to use our money to invest in our communities, financing a plethora of public projects and kickstarting local businesses. And we’ll loosen Wall Street’s stranglehold on our neighbors. No more Wells Fargo selling us phony products!

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What Wall St Costs America: New subprime boom, same old scam. Now people have stopped paying their auto loans


Photo by Devra


After the subprime mortgage fraud scam exploded, Wall Street was left scrambling for new securities machines that would generate the same guaranteed record profit. They looked for and found other corners of the loan industry to infect. One of these chosen dark corners is the auto industry. The greed mentality of Wall Street coupled with the lack of any serious punishment for wrong doing drives fraud even to the point of collapsing the economy. Since Wall Street has repeatedly demonstrated it's devoid of any consideration of public good, we must create alternatives that are dedicated to it: Public Banks.

As Bloomberg calls it, the scam is "classic subprime: hasty loans, rapid defaults, and at times outright fraud." 

Dealers partnered with financing engines, such as the partnership Fiat Chrysler made with Banco Santander, to create powerful subprime machines. 

Predictably, Wall Street rewarded loans given without verifying incomes or jobs.

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What Wall St Costs America: Paradise Papers show your retirement cash is in the Caymans making money for hedge fund managers


Photo by Thomas Hawk


Offshore tax havens aren’t just for the global elite, it turns out. Local government officials have sent hundreds of billions of dollars of public sector workers’ retirement savings to the same white shored beaches used by the rich and famous. If local governments instead held public funds in Public Banks, they'd avoid steep hedge fund manager fees, avoid "shenanigans" risk, and be able to extend credit to make money for the public good instead of for billionaires.

David Sirota and Lydia O’Neal posted in the International Business Times their recent investigation into the tidal wave of cash that has flowed from public pension systems into private equity, hedge funds, venture capital firms and real estate — more than a third of which flows through vehicles housed in the Caymans. 


“With so many of the investments now running through a maze of shell companies ... the outflow creates the conditions for rampant fee abuse and financial shenanigans — and prevents pension officials and law enforcement officials from even knowing exactly where billions of dollars of public money is being held.

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Black money projects are killing the economy: interview with Ellen Brown

171121_ellen_interview_1026.jpgSarah Westhall, host of the national radio show "Business Game Changers," recently interviewed PBI Chair Ellen Brown on her show to discuss the shape of our economy.

Ellen Brown: 

“Every 20 or 30 years we have changed the monetary system. We can and we will change it again. That’s what the Federal Reserve did in 2008 ... they started just lending free money to the banks, which they hadn’t done before, and called it Quantitative Easing. ... 

"If [the Chinese] have some bad loans, they just write them off. Because nobody’s hurt — nobody actually put up the money. The money was just created as an accounting entry, so you can write off those accounting entries if you need to, to save your economy. You don’t need to force austerity on people who didn’t do it, who weren’t liable for it, who weren’t at fault. We pretend like money is actually owed to someone, but it’s not. It was created as credit on the books — it can be written off.

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PBI Welcomes Daniel Hicks

171114_daniel_hicks_1026.jpgPBI is pleased to introduce a new member of our national leadership with the appointment of Daniel Hicks as Director of Media Relations. Daniels’s role with PBI will be to build deeper ties with the media and produce new materials that expand the understanding of Public Banking and its relevance to the national media discussion.  

Daniel is a journalist, economist, TV producer, world traveler and dual faculty member at the University of Miami. He managed network coverage from Los Angeles for NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC and other network channels and graduated from Columbia University’s School of Journalism. His list of travel experiences is dizzying.

Such deep media experience should be valuable to PBI’s mission ...

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PBI makes detailed presentation to Washington State Task Force as WA moves forward


View from Johnny's Dock, Tacoma, WA


As the winter rains fell in the Pacific Northwest, PBI Board Members Nichoe Lichen and Ellen Brown met in Tacoma last Thursday, Nov 9 with the State of Washington's Infrastructure and Public Depository Bank Task Force to present PBI’s evaluation of the nuts and bolts for establishing a Public Bank for the State of Washington. 

Ellen and Nichoe were impressed by the expertise and commitment of those Washington legislators and bank representatives serving on the task force and how much progress they had made. Perhaps it will it be the State of Washington that enables the first Public Bank in the US in 98 years!

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New Facebook Page launched! Send us your #YesPublicBanks group photos



We are thrilled to launch our new Facebook page to help connect with, educate, and inspire more people on the value of a Public Bank. 

To celebrate and highlight all the amazing work being done around the country, we call on our Public Bank supporters to send us photos!

The next time your Public Banking group gets together, please gather for a fun group photo in front of an iconic scene in your city and hold up a sign or small banner that says #YesPublicBanks

Send them to

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American Banker: “Public banking: The other winner in 2017 elections”

171114_states_working_public_bank_1026.jpgPhil Murphy’s win in NJ has caught the attention of the banking industry. Banking financial services magazine American Banker contacted PBI the day after the election to ask us  how we were seeing the success. The resulting article by Laura Alix provides a balanced and overall positive assessment and highlights that the Murphy win “is being seen as a much-needed shot in the arm for the broader public-bank movement.” 

Once community banks understand how a Public Bank can partner with them to overcome regulatory and capital burdens, PBI believes Public Banks are likely to gain many more banker allies.

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NJ Spotlight: Can Gov.-Elect Murphy Make a Go of His Public Bank?

171114_bank_lettering_1026.jpgLocal news outlet NJ Spotlight points out that few people in New Jersey had even heard of Gov-elect Phil Murphy before he jumped into the governor’s race, and the same could be said about one of Murphy’s core proposals: a plan to launch a state-run Public Bank. 

Now that he has won, Murphy has a chance to “set off a national revival for state banks, an idea that had its heyday nearly 200 years ago but has been rediscovered amid an era of corporate greed and rising income inequality."

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