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.”
Like residents of many climate-aware cities, Boulder residents have been demanding that their city divest from JP Morgan Chase, and one of the options the City Council is exploring is a public bank. Chase is the single largest sponsor of the fossil fuel industry, according to a new report. On April 10, activists protested outside 21 Chase locations around Colorado, calling attention to the $63.9 billion in fossil fuel investments Chase made in 2018 alone. For three years running, the Wall Street megabank has been the number one U.S. financier of tar sands oil, arctic oil and gas, ultra-deep-water oil and gas, liquified natural gas (LNG), and coal mining projects. But they need an alternative, and starting their own bank is one of them.
Will Brendza quotes Councilmember Sam Weaver in the Boulder Weekly:
“We’re looking for allies at the State House to give us more flexibility on where we can bank our money.”
In this week's It's Our Money podcast, PBI Chair Ellen Brown and Co-Host Walt McRee report on the latest rapid-fire legislative developments. Walt introduces the episode:
The Public Banking Revolution Is Upon Us
The pace of public bank developments appears to have reached a new plateau. From turning revolving funds erroneously called infrastructure “banks” into depository banks capable of leveraging capital as real banks do, to new bank configurations that connect municipalities as virtual co-op bank partners, public banking is “arriving” from coast to coast. Ellen reports on where these new legislative developments are taking place and why they matter to the big picture of public bank adoption. Later, Ellen completes her conversation with global public bank expert Thomas Marois about how public banks provide more cost effective management of public funds and co-host Walt McRee brings the fourth installment of a centennial retrospective on the Bank of North Dakota with author and historian Mike Jacobs.
Nomi Prins is featured on the Laura Flanders Show to discuss her latest book Collusion, in which she reveals the collaboration between central bankers as they control global markets and dictate economic policy from Wall Street to Main Street.
“What’s happening now is markets that have been the recipient of a lot of this extra cash … they’re not giving it to real people and real businesses. It goes to speculative endeavors like stock. ... But that money was artificial to begin with; it’s being used to prop up the financial system. That’s an artificial stimulant. The real growth that would put real money into the economy ... isn’t really there.”
Which state will be the first to declare its independence from Wall Street — California or Washington? PBI Chair Ellen Brown writes in Truthdig that the race is on. Policymakers and public banking advocates in both California and Washington State have passed their initial legislative hurdles to forming the nation's second state-owned bank. Ellen writes:
“The first hearing on [Senator Ben] Hueso’s Senate Bill 528 was held in Sacramento last week before the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, where it passed. The bill goes next to the Banking Committee. With momentum growing, California could be the first state in the 21st century to form its own bank; but it is getting heavy competition in that race from Washington State.”
Virginia's effort to establish a public bank for the state, called The Bank of Virginia Act, is rapidly gaining supporters, reaching 10 candidate endorsements last week. Yesterday, April 17, advocates held a public banking “community conversation” on the issue. Over the weekend, Tiffany Potter, Waynesboro Democratic Committee chair, published a column in the Daily Progress supporting public banking, in which she described its benefits like this:
“Public banks can be chartered and managed so they support local lending within the jurisdiction in which they operate. This directly benefits the community rather than maximizing profit through investment of the depositors capital (as private banks do).”
The Divest movement continues to fuel momentum for public banking as climate-conscious cities face the need for alternatives to big out-of-state and multinational banks, which have persisted in funneling $1.9 trillion in loans since 2016 toward expanding fossil fuel extraction. As observed in a recent article for In These Times, Aaron Fernando describes how public banking could enable needed financing for renewables.
“Public banking has already been implemented to great success in Germany, where the third-largest bank is state-owned and has underwritten energy efficiency upgrades for more than 3.5 million homes. … In New York City, ‘financing is a big barrier’ for solar conversions, says Noah Ginsburg, director of the Here Comes Solar program at Solar One, a nonprofit provider of technical assistance for local solar projects. This is because of the ‘shortage of mission-aligned financial institutions.’ Transitioning a multi-family building to solar can still cost as much as $100,000, Ginsburg says, more than an affordable housing provider may be able to finance, even if the system pays for itself in five years.”
Candidate for Philadelphia’s City Council makes public banking “the centerpiece of my legislative agenda”
In another high-profile race in a major US city, a candidate for the Philadelphia City Council has made public banking her campaign centerpiece, demonstrating that the idea is rapidly gaining prominence as a funding solution. Beth Finn, candidate for Philly City Council at Large, states in The Philadelphia Inquirer:
“I will make public banking the centerpiece of my legislative agenda. Every year, our city loses millions of dollars in bank fees and interest payments to big corporate banks that also use that money to invest in ventures that go directly against my values. A public bank maximizes our limited funds for investment by recapturing that money and loaning it to ourselves. A public bank is for the public good. Once established, I also want our public bank to offer basic checking account services to the underbanked and unbanked.”