Phil Murphy wins in NJ! Public Banking is on the ballot and wins!

171107_2_phil_murphy_1026.jpgBREAKING: Phil Murphy wins New Jersey's governor's race. But it's not only a win for Murphy, it's also a win for Public Banks. As John Nichols of The Nation put it today, "Public banking is on the ballot today—not as the sort of statewide referendum issue ... but in the form of a candidate who knows a thing or two about banking."

Phil Murphy describes Public Banking as “the type of big thinking we need to get back on track.” He wants to do even more with a NJ state bank than the successful model of the Bank of North Dakota. “This is money that belongs to the taxpayers of New Jersey, so it should be invested in them.”

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CA Treasurer Chiang recommends feasibility study on a CA Public Bank to address cannabis banking


Photo by Beverly Yuen Thompson


California State Treasurer John Chiang today released a report containing his Cannabis Working Group's recommendations for how the state can help address the banking needs of the soon-to-be-legal CA pot industry. One of his four main recommendations is:

Conducting a feasibility study on creation of a state-owned bank to provide financial services to the cannabis industry. The study should include costs, benefits, risks, and legal and regulatory issues including capitalization, deposit insurance and access to interbank transfer systems.

Chiang's recommendation is important because it allows the state to move forward on a feasibility study quickly without needing the legislature to approve it.

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CA Treasurer Chiang unveils recommendations on cannabis banking after year-long study: livestream Tues Nov 7


Photo by Beverly Yuen Thompson


The banking needs of the cannabis industry have been a pressing concern of CA state and city leaders as they deal with a rapidly growing state industry shut out of national banks and forced to operate businesses only in cash. Leaders are seriously inquiring how state or city Public Banks could potentially meet these needs. On Tuesday, Nov 7 at 10:00 am PST, CA State Treasurer John Chiang will hold a press conference in Sacramento to release a report on the steps California can take to address the lack of banking services that makes an entire industry resort to duffel bags full of dollars as standard business operations.

Federal law making marijuana illegal creates a legal grey zone for states who have legalized it. Because of the need to process payments and interact with the rest of the financial system, banks must have an account with one of the nation's 12 regional Federal Reserve banks, which default to follow national law. Will the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco take a different approach from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, for instance? It's not a settled question, but it's a battle worth fighting. 

[Watch press conference livestream]

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The Public Bank option — safer, local, and half the cost in NJ, in every state


Bank of North Dakota


Ellen Brown, PBI Chair, explains the value of a Public Bank on the heels of a new UK poll that reports the majority of politicians do not know where money comes from, and on the eve of the New Jersey Governor's race election day where Phil Murphy — one of the rare politicians who does know — has a double-digit lead. Murphy has made a NJ Public Bank a centerpiece of his platform. Green Party candidate Seth Kaper-Dale also strongly supports creating a state bank for NJ.  

Ellen Brown:

“For those few politicians who are aware of the banks’ magic money tree, the axiom that the people should own the banks — or at least some of them — is a no-brainer. … If Phil Murphy wins the New Jersey governorship and succeeds in establishing a New Jersey state-owned bank, expect a wave of public banks to follow, as more and more elected officials come to understand how banking works and to see the obvious benefits of establishing their own. 

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Politicians shockingly ignorant of where money actually comes from


Courtesy Positive Money


A full 85 percent of British politicians do not know where money comes from according to a new poll organized by Positive Money reported in CityA.M. Almost two-thirds of Members of Parliament surveyed wrongly thought banks cannot create money, while a quarter admitted they had no idea. 70 percent incorrectly believed that only the government has the power to create new money. 


Fran Boait, executive director of Positive Money, said: “Despite their confidence in telling the public that there is ‘no magic money tree’ to pay for vital services, politicians themselves are shockingly ignorant of where money actually comes from.

“There is in fact a ‘magic money tree’, but it’s in the hands of commercial banks, such as Barclays, HSBC and RBS, who create money whenever they make loans."

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Regulation is killing community banks, Public Banks can revive them

171107_Bank_for_Savings_Ossining_NY_1026.jpgPublic Banking Institute Chair Ellen Brown writes how Public Banks can revive the fast disappearing community banks that cannot meet onerous regulation hurdles imposed on banks by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and the 2001 Patriot Act. Many believe this mass concentration of more assets in fewer institutions to be an intended consequence of Dodd-Frank. How can we preserve and nurture community banks? We can look to a state where they are still thriving: North Dakota. Their secret? The state's century old Public Bank.

Ellen Brown:

In a September 2014 article Richard Morris and Monica Reyes Grajales noted that “a full discussion of the rules would resemble an advanced course in calculus,” and that the regulators have ignored protests that the rules would have a devastating impact on community banks. Why?

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International News: Report: Time for a full Public Bank in Wales


Wales. Photo by Holly Victoria Norval


A recently published report from the Public Policy Institute for Wales brings together evidence on the effectiveness and viability of a full public bank in Wales. The report argues that there are problems in the Welsh banking sector and wider economy that a public development bank could help to alleviate. 

The report: 

A public bank or network of community banks with an explicit regional objective could help boost SME lending and regional economic development.

A public bank could also contribute to socially desirable outcomes.

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New Jersey Governor's race led by strong advocate for Public Banks



Election day for the New Jersey governor's race is around the corner, taking place Nov 7. Phil Murphy, who strongly supports creating a Public Bank of New Jersey, is leading in the polls by 12 to 18 points. He was endorsed on Monday by The New York Times. Earlier this year, The Hill published an excellent opinion article outlining the case for the state to create its own Public Bank. The same arguments can easily be made in other states and municipalities. If Murphy does succeed in this election, the issue of a state Public Bank suddenly becomes a winning platform issue. 

The Hill

New Jersey has approximately $12 billion of public funds invested in large banks such as Wells Fargo, Capital One and Bank of America. In 2015, Bank of America made only three small business loans in the state. 

Murphy wants public deposits reinvested in the state.

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International News: Ireland is banking on the Germans: Bringing Sparkasse model to Irish banks


Courtesy The Independent


Ireland is intently listening as German Sparkasse bank proposes to bring its successful Public Bank model to Ireland. Sparkasse wants to help establish eight independent Irish regional Public Banks. It is proposing a pilot bank with five branches in key towns. The new Public Banks could break even within three years and could be up and running within a year, says Sparkasse international managing director Niclaus Bergmann in an article in The Independent.

"We are talking about competitive interest rates. We have an approach which is not shareholder-value driven. It is not about earning money but fulfilling a task," he said.

Any profits that do accrue are either used to strengthen the regional bank's capital position or passed back to the local authority to be used for "social purposes".

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Report: Making Money from Making Money: Who should have control over the supply of new money?

171031_new_economics_foundation_1026.jpgA detailed report from the UK’s New Economics Foundation published earlier this year explains in detail the main power of banks: the creation of money. It breaks down the prevailing myth that banks have stockpiles of money that they lend. Instead, the reality, they explain, is that “banks ... do not have to acquire funds in the first instance before making loans.”

Even more importantly, the authors point out that a large proportion of banks’ profits are underpinned by their control over the money supply. In this way, banks control an essential piece of public infrastructure. The report describes the strong case for the public taking back some control over the creation of money.

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