Los Angeles City Council decides to ask the public if they want a Public Bank

Los Angeles public bank coalition

LA City Council President Herb Wesson with Los Angeles Public Bank advocates from PBI and many grassroots organizations: Public Bank LA, Bernie Sanders Brigade, Feel the Bern Democratic Club of Los Angeles, ACCE, Democratic Socialists of America, Los Angeles, and more. Photo by Carlos Marroquin.

 

Los Angeles will be voting on a Public Bank this November! Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday, June 25 voted unanimously to start the process to put a measure to create a Public Bank for the city of LA on the ballot in November. The motion went to the Rules committee and back to the full City Council June 29, where the motion passed! 

City Council President Herb Wesson brought forward the motion, which was supported by a roomful of Public Bank advocates, including PBI Chair Ellen Brown and Public Bank LA / Divest LA leaders Phoenix Goodman and Trinity Tran, whose group has been instrumental in pushing City Council forward.

Public Banking advocate and grassroots organizer Carlos Marroquin from the Bernie Sanders Brigade and Public Bank LA said, “It’s important for us to start looking for other options to get away from our community’s addiction to and dependency on Wall Street’s money, which has brought nothing but despair and fraud.”

Next City reports on the next steps for Public Banking advocates to build mass support among voters:

"For now, Public Bank LA will be focusing on educating voters on the issue and 'galvanizing support from stakeholders in the community, including grassroots groups, students, community leaders, and labor,' Tran says. 'We need to mobilize for a critical mass of support, to ensure a majority win in November.'”

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VIDEO: Laura Flanders interviews #PublicBankNYC campaigners about creating a Public Bank for public good

Laura Flanders interviewed some of the advocates who recently launched the #PublicBankNYC campaign on her recent show.

What would students in debt, worker coops, and entrepreneurs stand to gain from a public bank in the financial capital of the world? This week, putting communities over commodities w/ leading figures in the fight for a new economy for working people.

“Is a Public Bank in the financial capital of the world possible? And how will that public bank help worker co-ops, students, entrepreneurs, and more? Deyanira del Río from the New Economy Project, Linda Levy of the Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union and Enlace's Cindy Martinez on why it's more needed than ever — and what they're doing to make it happen. Then, a look at the Public Bank NYC's recent launch action with New York City organizations, including New York Public Interest Research Group; NY Communities for Change; and The Working World.”

[Watch the video]


Public Banking building coalitions on both coasts

#PublicBankNYC and California Public Banking Alliance

Winsome Pendergrass, New York Communities for Change, at the June 5 rally in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Members of the California Public Banking Alliance.

 

The launch of the #PublicBankNYC campaign earlier this month and the ongoing campaigns in California have generated several excellent articles.

Aaron Fernando writes in The Progressive, “The rally on June 5 [in New York] was reminiscent of the Occupy Movement. … But the new movement extends beyond protest to present a practical solution to the problem caused by big banks that continue to fail large segments of society. The rally on Wall Street called for establishing a public bank for New York City, as part of a broader movement to establish public banks in cities and states across the United States. ...

“‘It just made sense that we should be able to control what happens with our public money in our city, to not fund these things that so many of us are concerned about.’ said Hyung Nam, a member of the city’s Socially Responsible Investment Committee.”

Alejandra Molina writes in Next City, “Community organizer Carlos Marroquin, 57, of Hollywood, is a housing advocate who knows of homeless people who are employed but do not make enough to put a roof over their heads. He envisions a city-owned bank that would work directly with community banks and credit unions, ‘providing them the money they need to be able to give reasonable and affordable mortgage rates to people.’

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California Public Banking Alliance forms to create a specialized Public Bank charter CA cities could use

California Public Banking Alliance

 

Six local Public Bank grassroots groups came together in San Francisco Saturday June 9 for the first statewide meeting of the newly formed California Public Bank Alliance to advocate for municipal and regional Public Banks. A key goal of the Alliance is to get a bill creating a specific Public Bank charter through the CA state legislature by September 2019. This charter would enable cities or regions to use a specific Public Bank license to create Public Banks. It would also set out some basic values for public control of public money.

Advocates from Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, peninsula/south bay, Oakland and San Francisco participated in the meeting. Groups from Eureka and Santa Barbara are part of the Alliance but were not represented at this initial meeting.

To connect and find out more go to californiapublicbankingalliance.org.


Farewell and thank you to PBI Board Member Arizona State Representative Pamela Powers Hannley

Pamela Powers Hannley

Arizona State Representative Pamela Powers Hannley

 

Public Banking Institute Board Member Pamela Powers Hannley has announced she is stepping down from our Board to focus on her work as an Arizona State Legislator and Public Bank legislation sponsor in her state. We thank Pam for her insights and contributions to our organization and wish her expanded success in Arizona.


25 percent of Swiss voters support sovereign money referendum indicating growing interest in radical overhaul

Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva, Switzerland. Photo courtesy Reuters.

 

The Sovereign Money initiative that Switzerland ultimately rejected would have barred commercial banks from electronically creating money when they make loans, and made the Swiss National Bank the only body authorized to create money in the country. While the initiative failed, a full quarter of Swiss voters supported it, which shows a growing interest in a radical overhaul of the monetary system.

Positive Money’s Fran Boait writes in the Independent, the initiative would have “opened up the way for a transformation of the money and banking system the world over. ...

“Unknown to most of the population, 90 per cent of Switzerland’s money is created by private banks ‘out of thin air’ when they lend.

“Switzerland’s Vollgeld referendum raises a crucial question that has been ignored since the last crisis - should private or public interests be in control of creating almost all the money a country uses?

Reuters explains:

Contrary to common belief, most money in the world is not produced by central banks but is instead created electronically by commercial lenders when they lend beyond the deposits they hold for savers. This arrangement, underpinned by the belief that most debts will be repaid, has been a cornerstone of the global capitalist system …”

“‘The discussion is only just getting started,' said campaign spokesman Raffael Wuethrich. 'Our goal is that money should be in the service of the people and not the other way around and we will continue to work on it.’”

 

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Coalition of grassroots groups launches “paradigm shift” campaign for #PublicBankNYC

Public Banks NYC campaign launch

Public Banks NYC campaign launch. Photos courtesy New Economy Project

 

Activists from more than two dozen grassroots organizations including New Economy Project and Public Bank NYC took to the streets of Wall Street on Tuesday to launch a campaign for a NYC Public Bank. Carrying signs reading “Public Bank for Public Good,” and chanting, "Wells, Chase, B of A, public bank's a better way!” advocates called for a paradigm shift:

“Every year, New York City deposits billions of dollars of public money in big banks like Chase, Bank of America, and Citibank. On top of that, Wall Street extracts many millions of dollars in fees and interest from New York City. This means that our public money is supporting Wall Street’s destructive activities: foreclosing on our homes, fueling the climate crisis, redlining communities of color, backing private prisons and immigrant detention centers, and financing war -- to name a few.

“Enough! Clearly we need a paradigm shift, and we call that shift Public Bank NYC.”

Julia Conley reports in Common Dreams:

‘New York deserves a public bank that will invest in community needs, and be accountable to New York City residents—one that will prioritize housing...and not prey on low-income New Yorkers,’ said Scott Hutchins, a member of the grassroots social justice group Picture the Homeless. …

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California Senate passes bill to create banks for pot businesses

counting cannabis cash

Counting cannabis cash. Photo courtesy San Francisco Chronicle.

 

The sheer volume of cash that legalized pot is triggering is generating the kind of political will needed to create a Public Bank as the solution. We ask: Why not use the power of a Public Bank to help everyone?

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

"The state Senate passed a bill this week to create a state charter for banks to serve California cannabis businesses, which would allow licensed merchants to write checks to pay taxes, fees and vendors — rather than use large amounts of cash, as they currently do.

"SB930, by state Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, now heads to the Assembly."

[Read the full article]


Washington DC held the first two of four public meetings about establishing a Public Bank

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Washington D.C. Photo by Sarah Ferrante Goodrich

 

Washington DC’s Department of Insurance Securities and Banking held the first and second of a series of public meetings May 30 and June 6 on a proposal to establish a Public Bank in the District. The slides created for the meeting closely quoted Public Banking Institute’s language in defining a Public Bank.

The slides presented are available online and audio of the meetings should be available shortly.

Future public meeting dates are June 27, and July 25.

[Find out more]


American Banker: Wells Fargo is not alone: OCC finds sales abuses at other banks, but report is being kept hidden

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Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)

 

Wells Fargo’s fraudulent practices are commonplace in the banking industry according to a new report. “Hundreds of problems” and “systemic issues” were discovered in a review of large and midsize banks’ sales practices, yet federal regulators currently have no plans to make the results public.

American Banker reports:

“The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency began a broad examination of more than 40 banks after it was revealed that employees at Wells Fargo had opened millions of fake accounts in an effort to meet aggressive sales goals.

“The review uncovered specific examples of other banks opening accounts without proof of customers’ consent, an OCC spokesman acknowledged Tuesday. It also spurred the issuance of warnings on five specific industrywide issues that banks needed to address, and more than 250 specific items regulators wanted fixed at individual banks, according to a consultant briefed on the OCC’s findings. …

Yet the results of the review have not been publicly disclosed, and OCC has no plans to release a report, according to Bryan Hubbard, a spokesman for the agency.

“Hubbard declined to comment on why the agency is not making the results public. …

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