PBI Is on the Move in Santa Fe

The public banking movement received a lift the past couple weeks with allegations about Wells Fargo inflating its profits by creating millions of fake deposit and credit card accounts. Santa Fe City Councilor Renee Villarreal and co-sponsors Joseph Maestas and Carmichael Dominguez have introduced legislation that allows the city to move forward with planning a public bank.

Santa Fe's Public Banking Task Force

By Bruce Krasno, Santa Fe New Mexican

CityofSantaFeNM.jpgSanta Fe City Councilor Renee Villarreal and co-sponsors Joseph Maestas and Carmichael Dominguez have introduced legislation that allows the city to move forward with planning a public bank that could finance city capital projects and operations with less borrowing costs.

The key question for many in the community is governance and oversight of a bank, and the resolution helps to address concerns that elected officials and the mayor could use a public bank to wrestle more control over finances.

Under the resolution, just one member of the City Council would serve on the task force to research bank charters and policies, and then just one other city employee, a representative of the city Finance Department, would be among the nine members.

Other appointees would include: one person with legal experience in the banking industry; one person with bank regulatory experience; two residents who have expressed interest in public banking; and three members with local financial and/or banking experience who are currently employed or retired from a community bank, a community credit union or a community development financial institution.

The public banking movement received a lift the past couple weeks with allegations about Wells Fargo inflating its profits by creating millions of fake deposit and credit card accounts.

The debate takes on new urgency as cash-strapped local governments are cutting services at a time when taxpayers are being charged interest and fees to essentially borrow back their own money.

The Public Banking Institute estimates the combined costs for all 50 states may be as high as $4 trillion.

If the resolution passes, Santa Fe’s public banking task force will have its hands full. It would research and recommend two charter options for a public bank, identify legal and governance issues as well as hold public hearings, then report back to the City Council in six months.


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