Today, cities and states put their money in Wall Street banks, allowing thosebanks to leverage our public funds in order to dominate the financialized speculative economy rather than reinvesting them in our communities. At the same time, cities and states borrow money from Wall Street institutions and bondholders at high interest rates and pay large fees to keep money in their banks. This is not a cost-effective way to do business. Cities and states could be keeping their public dollars and leveraging them for their own community needs.
With city and state-owned banks, we cut out Wall Street middlemen. Our community’s cash stays home to benefit us! Bank fees are eliminated, interest costs drop, and public bank profits are reinvested into our communities.
Public banks can help us create the communities we want. We want parks, good roads, safe bridges, clean energy, and housing we can afford. We want lower interest rates for local small business loans, local control of our tax dollars, investment in our local communities, and ethical and transparent financial institutions managing our public funds. Public banks can be the financial engine that makes this happen for our communities.
- Are owned by the people of a state, city, community, or nation;
- Serve as the depository for local government funds (city or state taxes, fees, etc.);
- Are required to benefit the public by serving local community needs;
- Can save state and local governments millions or even billions of dollars, by cutting out middlemen and private shareholders, eliminating fees, and financing projects at lower interest rates;
- Reinvest bank profits into the community, providing a new source of income for cities and states and a source of funding for projects such as infrastructure, renewable energy and affordable housing;
- Are run, not by politicians, but by qualified bankers serving a public mission;
- Provide accountability and transparency to the public for bank decisions, avoiding the risks of Wall Street’s speculative gambling;
- Create new jobs and spur economic growth by supporting local small businesses;
- Partner with and support rather than competing with local community banks;
- Can lend during times of stress and crisis, helping to sustain a healthy local economy.