Photo by Sam Hodgson courtesy the LA Times.
The Los Angeles Times has featured a new bill in California, AB 1177, that would create a state-administered program dubbed BankCAL designed to serve the needs of the unbanked and underbanked. BankCAL would oversee a contracted set of private banks to provide no-fee debit cards, direct deposits from employers and government agencies, electronic bill payment, and ATM access. While the legislation would not create a public bank, it would give those currently opting out or shut out of bank accounts the ability to use everyday financial services without paying exorbitant fees.
Writer Margot Roosevelt quotes PBI Chair Ellen Brown:
“Like the [Postal Banking Act] federal legislation, BankCal would ‘break the mold of private banker control over access to financial services for people who have been left out,’ said Ellen Brown, chair of the Public Banking Institute, a national think tank in Santa Clarita. ‘It reflects the concept that banking is a public utility that should be in the hands of the people.’”