It’s Our Money podcast: BND’s 100 years of service

Nonpartisan League cover

Nonpartisan League Leader cover


The Bank of North Dakota turns 100 years old this year. It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown will mark this centenary year by focusing on BND’s contribution as well as related monetary and policy issues.

Co-host Walt McRee introduces this episode:

“2019 is the centenary of the only public state bank in the United States, the Bank of North Dakota. It’s a big deal. From the struggling prairie farmers who started the bank after they took control of their state government to its unmatched success as a financial institution, the BND has inspired the launch of a hopeful national movement to bring about key systemic changes to the public’s access to its common wealth. Dr. Rozanne Enerson Junker is our guest, an expert on the history of the Bank. Rozanne talks about the way things were in North Dakota that precipitated the bank’s creation, how it got started and how many of the same aspects of monopoly-controlled finance still impact communities today. It is the first in our series of broadcast discussions on the Bank of North Dakota for 2019.”

[Listen to the podcast]

Ellen Brown: This radical plan to fund a ‘Green New Deal’ just might work

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo courtesy TruthDig


PBI Chair Ellen Brown sheds light on how we could fund even our grandest ideas by injecting money directly into the economy without risking inflation. In her latest article in TruthDig, Ellen explains:

“A network of public banks could fund the Green New Deal in the same way President Franklin Roosevelt funded the original New Deal. At a time when the banks were bankrupt, he used the publicly owned Reconstruction Finance Corp. as a public infrastructure bank. …

“The publicly owned Reconstruction Finance Corp. (RFC) was a remarkable publicly owned credit machine that allowed the government to finance the New Deal and World War II without turning to Congress or the taxpayers for appropriations.”

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It’s Our Money podcast: People are coming for their money

Me'Lea Connelly

Me'Lea Connelly. Photo courtesy Yes magazine


As France’s working class pushes their government into submission and revolutionary mass protests now engulf Europe, the realization reaches our shores that the levers of our economies are begin pulled in favor of the very wealthy. This latest episode of It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown, co-hosts Walt McRee and Ellen talk with Dr Jack Rasmus and Me’Lea Connelly about how people are coming for their money.

Walt describes the episode:

“In so many ways and places around the world, citizens are expressing their intention to reclaim wealth that has been siphoned from their lives and local economies by the mechanisms of private capital control. Banks and governments are both targets for the wrath and revolutionary ideas that have arrived in France and are heading to Washington. In this edition, Ellen talks about the emerging Green New Deal idea that uses the Fed and a network of public banks to finance a sustainable future and social equity. And she talks with author and economics professor Dr. Jack Rasmus about the mechanisms of the Fed and financial markets which undermine the prospects for realizing the public’s interest in economic fairness. But some folks aren’t waiting: Walt and Ellen talk with Me’Lea Connelly, a founding Director of Village Financial, a new black-owned credit union co-op that is changing the economic prospects of a long-underserved community.”

[Listen to the podcast]

Together, we can turn austerity into abundance - from Ellen Brown

PBI 2019 Campaign for Public Banks


Public banks can turn austerity into prosperity

Year-end appeal from Ellen Brown, Chair of the Public Banking Institute

Pundits warn that 2019 could be the start of the next Great Recession and that environmental devastation looms on the horizon. But solutions ARE possible with adequate public funding, and this funding can be generated with a network of local and national public banks. It’s not too late to turn things around, but more people need to know how, and soon. Your financial support now will help fund our 2019 Campaign for Public Banks to create the BIG PUSH we need now to get public banks established. You can sign on to support and contribute here.

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New Yorkers rally for a public bank during the UN’s 4th Annual Climate Finance Day

Public Bank NYC rally

Mychal Johnson from South Bronx Unite with Public Bank NYC outside NY City Hall. Photo courtesy the New Economy Project


Last week, as global leaders assembled for the United Nations-backed 4th Annual Climate Finance Day, Public Bank NYC — a broad coalition that includes the New Economy Project, NY Communities for Change, and NY Public Interest Research Group — rallied at City Hall and called on NYC to divest public money from banks that are major investors in the fossil fuel industry and to establish a municipal public bank to help fund the transition to a just, sustainable economy.

The coalition released a new analysis showing that the city’s banks are dramatically expanding investments in fossil fuel.

Jake Offenhartz reports the details in Gothamist:

“‘Just imagine if there was a institution that had baked into its mission statement the goal of helping grow worker cooperatives, of expanding access to financial services, and of increasing affordable housing,’ Morrison told Gothamist. ‘We want to divest that money from Wall Street and redirect it to critical community needs. The money is there, it's about generating will.’”

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Chicago Alderman proposes treasurer’s office could fight income inequality with a public bank

Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar

Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar. Photo courtesy Sun Times


Last week, Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar, who’s also a candidate for city treasurer, proposed a public bank using city employee pension funds and city investments to help solve the student loan crisis and other social issues driving income inequality.

Fran Spielman at the Chicago Sun-Times reports:

“‘I make $108,000-a-year as an alderman — and I’m not complaining … But 80 percent of my take home goes to pay for student loans and child care,’ said Pawar, who has $200,000 in student loan debt that carries a 7 percent interest rate.

“Here’s how Pawar’s proposal would work: The treasurer’s office would either launch a public bank or work with private banks, private investment funds and city employee pension funds to invest in student loans. …”

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Seattle divestment activists seek to cut ties with Wall St and create a public bank

Seattle divest movement

Photo courtesy Last Real Indians


The publication Last Real Indians writes that Seattle’s feasibility study does show a viable path forward toward a public bank.

“‘The exhaustive public bank feasibility study shows a way forward in the establishment of a financial institution that aligns itself with the core values of the City of Seattle,’ said Matt Remle, speaking on behalf of some members of the stakeholder group. … The next step is for the City to fund a business plan. The study lays out a step-by-step approach to successfully meet legal and regulatory requirements. …”

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Press Democrat op-ed: A public bank would help Santa Rosa solve pressing problems of rebuilding post-fire

Santa Rosa Tubbs fire destruction

Santa Rosa Tubbs fire destruction. Photo courtesy the Press Democrat.


Santa Rosa’s housing bond Measure N was defeated in the recent election, leaving the City Council without the hoped-for resources to make up for the immense costs of 2017’s post-fire rebuilding. The Friends of Public Banking Santa Rosa is pressing forward with an op-ed in the Press Democrat proposing that now is the time for the city to create a public bank:

“Measure N’s demise has made it clear that bonded indebtedness — the standard option for avoiding program cuts or new taxes — isn’t going to bail us out. … A local public bank would save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in fees and interest payments that currently are gobbled up by the private megabanks that hold city accounts. Those monies, kept here at home, would go a long way toward surmounting our housing and infrastructure challenges.”

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New Book: Bank of North Dakota 1919-2019: From Surviving to Thriving — The First 100 Years

Bank of North Dakota book


Just one month before entering its 100th anniversary year, Bank of North Dakota has released the book, “The Bank of North Dakota – From Surviving to Thriving.” The book is only the third ever written about the only state-owned bank in the country and chronicles the Bank’s first century, covering a history rich in drama, failure and ultimately success. It can be purchased here. (Hardcover only, no Kindle versions.)

The Bank of North Dakota has a unique and courageous story to tell. Founded in 1919, the Bank survived political attacks, legal challenges and election campaigns before it became the thriving success it is today.

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Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed select committee for a Green New Deal includes public bank funding

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, photo courtesy Politico


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — one of two insurgent progressive candidates to succeed in their races for Congress — submitted draft text for a select committee on a Green New Deal financed by a system of national and regional public banks and the Federal Reserve. The plan calls for a sweeping mobilization to make the US carbon neutral and draw down greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere and oceans.

The inclusion of public banking is an important indicator that awareness of its value has reached the federal level, in good measure due to local advocates who have been pressing the case to Ocasio-Cortez and her team. The draft language proposes “using a combination of the Federal Reserve, a new public bank or system of regional and specialized public banks, public venture funds and ... other vehicles” for funding. 

The idea of creating a special new climate panel was immediately met with strong opposition from powerful veteran lawmakers, but has since drawn support from 15 other Representatives and the attention of mainstream media. The proposed select committee for a Green New Deal would tackle much more than climate change. Noting that far-reaching change is needed, Naomi Klein writes in The Intercept:

“By giving the committee a mandate that connects the dots between energy, transportation, housing and construction, as well as health care, living wages, a jobs guarantee, and the urgent imperative to battle racial and gender injustice, the Green New Deal plan would be mapping precisely that kind of far-reaching change. This is not a piecemeal approach that trains a water gun on a blazing fire, but a comprehensive and holistic plan to actually put the fire out.”  

Pie in the sky? Not if funded through the Federal Reserve and a network of public banks, which make this plan a realistic possibility. 

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