Cities charge ahead with Public Banks


Photo by Etienne Martin


The movement to create municipal Public Banks continues to surge forward as more and more cities wake up to the powerful benefits it promises. An article out this week in Fast Company quotes PBI Chair Ellen Brown and describes the challenges faced by our allies at Public Bank LA when NoDAPL activists successfully pressured Los Angeles to move their money out of Wells Fargo: where to put city funds next?

Where is the banking institution that is large enough to handle the city’s sizable accounts, ethical in their business practices, and accountable to the public? The need became clear for a Public Bank with a mandate to serve the public. 

That’s our tax dollars that get siphoned off to profits on Wall Street,” Public Bank LA's Phoenix Goodman says.

“If that same mechanism can be owned by the people themselves …, that interest can be reinvested … into new projects, so it would be profit for the city rather than private interests. Because it can save money, fiscally conservative people have found value in that as well,” Goodman continues. …

“The whole idea of the Bank of North Dakota, when it was set up in 1919, was to keep North Dakota money in North Dakota for North Dakotans,” says Ellen Brown, an attorney and founder of the nonprofit Public Banking Institute. Her interest in the model was piqued after the 2008 financial crisis. As Wall Street banks collapsed and most state treasuries went into debt, the Bank of North Dakota grew assets and profits because the model, Brown says, is more efficient than traditional banking.

[Read the full article]

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