San Francisco City Hall by Rich Hay

Photo by Rich Hay.

In a major victory for public banking advocates, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on June 15th to establish the San Francisco Reinvestment Working Group tasked with developing business and governance plans for both a non-depository Municipal Finance Corporation and for a public bank. The ordinance was signed by Mayor London Breed, following 30 hours of city budget negotiations.

Authored by Supervisor Dean Preston, the ordinance creates a nine-member working group that includes four community leaders, three financial institution experts, and one representative each from the city’s Controller and Treasurer’s offices. It gives the working group one year to deliver the plans. Budget negotiations with the mayor allocated $375,000 for the effort.

The Supervisors’ Budget and Legislative Analyst report contained strong recommendations for moving forward, concluding:

“Both models [are] feasible and could operate profitability. We recommend that the City establish a non-depository MFC, at least initially, for lower operating costs, bigger impact, and no requirement for FDIC approval.”

KPIX San Francisco quoted Supervisor Preston:

“The pandemic has laid bare the deep disparities that exist along social, economic, and racial lines. As we chart a path to economic recovery, we need to look beyond corporate banks that prey on our most vulnerable communities.”

[Watch the meeting]
[Read the BLA report]

Read more about California’s broad progress including updates on LA as well as the Central Coast effort in Scott Scoriano’s article in Capitol Weekly.