Eighteen public bank bills were introduced in 2021
Join the growing movement to create banks that are owned by and benefit the people.
What is public banking?
Banks that the public owns through their representative government and that work to benefit local communities.
Public banking is banking operated in the public interest, through institutions owned by the people through their representative governments. Public banks can exist at all levels, from cities to state to national. Any governmental body which can meet local banking requirements may, theoretically, create such a financial institution.
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How can public banks help?
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In just 12 years, PBI has made great strides to make the benefits of public banking common knowledge to both legislators and the public.
Where is public banking making progress?
Take a look.
Want just the basics?
Here's why public banks make such a difference. It's much more simple than you might think.
Though the details of banking can seem daunting, the basic rationale for WHY it’s important to have public ownership of our own financial institutions is just common sense.
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Find links to current and previous legislation, white papers, reports, legal memos, and much more.
Before shaping your own approach to advocacy, it’s useful to review the history of prior legislation and reports on it. With these powerful resources at our fingertips, we can learn from each other.
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Decisions focus on the public good.
What makes a
public bank different?
First responder in a crisis, not a profiteer.
What are the latest updates?
Public Banking Legislation Tracker
NY Senate Bill S1754 / Assembly Bill A3352 to establish the “New York public banking act,” which is similar to California’s AB857, were introduced in mid January by State Sen. James Sanders Jr. and Assemblymember Pamela J. Hunter, respectively. As of mid March, the Senate bill has met the 32 Senator co-sponsor threshold to pass. The Assembly bill has 61 co-sponsors, 14 Assemblymembers short of having majority support.
Draft business plans for a San Francisco Public Bank and a Municipal Finance Corporation (MFC) were released in early February from the city’s Reinvestment Working Group. The bank proposal calls for $50 million in initial capital to be sourced by the City and County of San Francisco. The SF MFC plan is to be finalized by the end of March; the SF Public Bank plan is set to be finalized by mid May. Plans will then be submitted to the Board of Supervisors for review.
Advocates are anticipating the comprehensive reports due Q1 from Berggruen Institute and Jain Family Institute, which will model lending initiatives for the LA public bank to include affordable housing, green energy, small businesses, and financial justice. Meanwhile, Public Bank LA is arranging introductory meetings with incoming City Councilmembers, is working with City Council to allocate funds for the $700K RFP contract in the city’s budget, and has written three editorials in response to the private bank failures in the news.
A bill to create the Washington State Public Infrastructure Bank was introduced in January by State Sen. Patty Kuderer and 13 co-sponsors. The bill, SB 5509, was amended to create a loan fund instead of a bank and did not make it out of its Senate committee. Washingtonians for Public Banking recently held their first public event, which reviewed public banking efforts in Washington State.
Public Bank East Bay’s Viability Study has been approved by Richmond and Oakland, including approval of valuable city staff time toward the project. PBEB advocates continue their work toward gaining commitments from other regional cities as founders and depositors, and on writing the business plan.
A new state public bank bill was introduced in both houses in January, sponsored by State Rep. Mike Connolly, State Rep. Antonio F. D. Cabral, and State Sen. James B. Eldridge. HD.2677 (House) and SD.1589 (Senate) incorporate recommended technical and language adjustments to the bill introduced last session (2021-22), honed through close work with the State Treasurer, CDFI leaders, and banking regulatory bodies including the Federal Reserve.
OR State Senator Jeff Golden has introduced two public banking bills. The first, introduced with State Representative Mark Gamba, HB 2763, would create a task force that would study and make recommendations for comprehensive public bank legislation to be delivered to the Assembly by Jan 31, 2024. The second, SB 501, would create a state bank. The Oregon Public Bank Alliance is supporting the task force bill and has outlined a three-year campaign for passage of a successful state bank bill.
A resolution to form a Philadelphia Public Finance Authority received a nearly unanimous approval, 15 – 1, by the City Council last March. Mayor Jim Kenney has refused to implement the mandated board appointments, but Philly advocates are pushing ahead in seating the board members for the Public Finance Authority that they’ve identified and vetted. The primary for electing a new mayor is scheduled for May 17, and five of the ten candidates running for the position are former City Councilmembers who voted for the Financial Authority. Prospects are therefore good.
NH State Representative Jason Gerhard introduced HB648-FN to establish a state bank of New Hampshire in early January. A public hearing was held February 7, for which PBI Chair Ellen Brown submitted written testimony on behalf of PBI. Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee determined on March 8 the bill was “Inexpedient to Legislate” 18-1. Report p5.
The Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity (AFLEP) has shifted the window in which they expect to introduce their legislation from this year’s 60-day session to next year’s 30-day session, based on new opportunities likely to improve the bill’s chance of success. The newly inaugurated State Treasurer, Laura Montoya, is a strong supporter of a public bank and AFLEP wants to work with her to strengthen their case.