Sharable, the award-winning news hub for the sharing / public commons movement, features the remarkable example of the Bank of North Dakota in their new book Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons, and in a related article by Leila Collins. The lessons of the BND continue to demonstrate how valuable a Public Bank can be to a community.
“BND has been profitable since at least 1971 (the furthest back records are available) and has grown to $4 billion in assets. The state's government and economy has benefited substantially from BND's long-lived and consistent success. BND has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to the state treasury over its lifetime ($300 million between 1998 and 2008 alone). BND has helped North Dakota maintain a low unemployment rate, large state government budget surpluses, a robust network of community banks, and high credit availability even during economic crises.
“BND is no anomaly. Public banks have a long history of success in other countries such as Costa Rica and Germany.”
The state of North Dakota fought for its right to form a bank all the way to the Supreme Court:
“In a case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court (Green versus Frazier, 253 U.S. 233) in 1919, the state government of North Dakota won the right to have its own bank. Since that decision, the BND has been guided by its charter to "serve the people of North Dakota." Following the charter, the BND has focused on low-risk, local lending done primarily through a network of independent community banks. It has only one location and does little retail banking, so complements rather than competes with banks.”
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