San Francisco has assembled its 16-member Municipal Bank Feasibility Task Force that will study launching a Public Bank. SF Treasurer José Cisneros announced last week the task force’s purpose is “to identify and pursue opportunities to extend access to credit for small businesses, provide banking services to the cannabis industry, expand capital for affordable housing, and research the viability and advisability of a municipal bank.”
“San Francisco has always been a leader in socially responsible banking and investment. I am eager to work with the Task Force to identify new approaches to support our City’s bold vision for inclusive innovation.”
Task force member and former Supervisor John Avalos, a longtime advocate for Public Banks, told the San Francisco Examiner:
“With the profit motive out of its mission, the municipal bank can hold private financial institutions to a higher standard of greater equity and public good.”
The first meeting of the Municipal Bank Feasibility Task Force will be on Wednesday, February 21 in City Hall room 305 from 3-5pm. The full meeting calendar is posted here.
The task force is made up of noteworthy experts and bankers who can assure the Treasurer and the Supervisors that a Municipal Bank will not put the city’s funds at risk. It includes members from social justice organizations; advocates working to improve access to credit for communities of color and low-income; finance professionals with traditional consumer banks, credit unions, and community development financial institutions; and government officials with expertise in banking, investment, affordable housing, and public finance.
Supervisor Malia Cohen:
"The Municipal Bank Feasibility Task Force will prioritize local control, transparency, and financial empowerment in our financial system, so that our City finances reflect our City values. Understanding how we can both divest from Big Banks, and use our money to invest in San Franciscans demands out of the box thinking. From home loans to refundable money bail to the emerging cannabis industry, I am excited about the opportunities and ready to work with this strong group of experts toward bold change.”
Supervisor Sandra Fewer:
“I both want to have more independence from large national corporate banks that make investment choices or have business practices misaligned with the San Francisco values, and I want more local control over how our public dollars are invested so that we can leverage our public resources better for the public good”. Fewer noted that these large banks have invested in civilian firearms, tobacco, nuclear power, fossil fuels and private prisons.