navigating legal questions
We can examine how legal experts view the central issues.
The path to creating a public bank for a city or state necessarily requires answering certain legal questions. While existing legislation varies by state, city, and county, it can be useful to examine recent legal memoranda that look deeply at the legal issues of consequence in establishing a public bank.
We’ve also included links to statutes that define the two existing U.S. public banks.
Legal memos & analysis
States – legal memoranda
|Colorado||2019||“Do the Constitution and Statutes of Colorado Allow the State and Local Governments to Establish and Operate Public Banks?” – Legal Memorandum – July 2019|
|Colorado||2019||“Would a statute that creates a state banking entity violate Colorado’s constitution?” – Legal Opinion, Office of Legislative Legal Services, Colorado General Assembly – Oct 2019|
|Colorado||2015||“Do Sections 1 and 2 of Art. XI of the Colorado Constitution Prohibit a City from Operating a Bank or Lending Money?” by Earl H. Staelin – Apr 2015|
|New Mexico||2017||“Establishment and Operation of a Chartered Public Bank by the City of Santa Fe,” by Chaiken and Virtue – Oct 2017|
|New Mexico||2015||“Legal Considerations of City of Santa Fe Public Bank Proposal,” by Rodey Law – Sep 2015|
|Washington||2014||“Memorandum: Seattle’s Authority to Create a Municipal Bank,” – May 2014|
public bank statutes
The following tables include links to existing statutes establishing a public bank and other useful related documents.
There are currently two public banks operating in the United States: the Bank of North Dakota, established in 1919, and the Territorial Bank of American Samoa, formed in 2018.
In 2019, California passed AB857, which established a common charter for the creation of city and regional public banks, indicating an approved way forward for the establishment of municipal banks.