The Nation: How a Public Bank could help you

Wall Street sign

Photo courtesy The Nation


More articles pour in, giving additional coverage and power to the burgeoning movement to create Public Banks. The latest from Michelle Chen at The Nation focuses on New York:

What if a city as a whole decided to create its own bank? The Public Bank NYC campaign calls for a full-fledged bank, owned and operated by and for the city, which could serve as a public trust invested in social justice, accountable to the public.

"Right now, billions of the City of New York’s dollars are being held in commercial banks. That’s a problem, because it’s those same banks that make decisions about whom to lend to, and at what rates. … Those banks are also the same big financial institutions that were deemed “too big to fail” during the last financial collapse, and were only kept afloat during the Great Recession with a huge bail-out, ultimately funded by public money.

“A public bank for the city, on the other hand, would be a publicly operated financial institution that would hold funds belonging to the city and disburse them across public projects and community-based organizations based on citizens’ actual needs. …

The Nation continues: 

The home of Occupy Wall Street would be a fitting place for a public bank to start disrupting global capital—just when rage against big banks is once again cresting. In response to high-profile financial-corruption cases, such as the massive Wells Fargo scandal, or controversies over financial institutions’ links to maligned industries like private prisons, firearms, or fossil fuels, many cities and organizations are already planning to ‘move their money’ by divesting their assets from corporate banks. …

“After her last workplace shut down, Diaz joined with her coworkers to create a new, cooperatively run business: ‘By making finance accessible to workers, to worker cooperatives, and other community wealth-building institutions,’ Diaz said, ‘a New York City public bank could save jobs, build wealth in our own struggling communities, and help to build a more just economy that works for all.’

The impact of a public bank could be far-reaching: ‘When you think about the $90 billion budget that the city has,’ said Basma Eid of the community advocacy group ENLACE, told The Nation, ‘the impact goes beyond NYC, right? The money that’s going into these banks has a global impact on communities of color across the globe…. We could really set the standard of what community control of our resources would look like.’

“As long as New Yorkers have to live in the shadows of Wall Street, public banking could offer an enlightened way to recapture capital for the common good.”

[Read the full article]

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