Public Bank East Bay makes history as it hires its first CEO, Scott Waite, becoming the first public banking effort in the nation to bring on a chief executive as well as a prospective board, led by Co‐Chairs Paulina Gonzalez‐Brito and Jennifer Esteen, for the planned public bank. Waite is tasked with completing the public bank’s business plan required to apply for a bank charter, which will license the bank to do business. The Board expects the bank to open by early 2025.
Left to right: Jennifer Esteen, Paulina Gonzalez-Brito, Scott Waite.
In addition, PBEB has raised its first $1M to bring on the CEO and the board slate, and to support writing the business plan. The money has been raised from individual and grant-funded donations from the California Wellness Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, and Y&H Soda Foundation.
Scott Waite comments:
“With my long career in CEO and CFO roles in credit unions, I know what it takes to successfully operate a regulated financial institution that has the interests of the community at the center of its mission. … It is thrilling to be a part of the public bank initiative that is in line to be the first public bank in the United States in over 100 years.”
Waite’s selection as PBEB CEO caps a lifelong career in financial services and 20-year career as CFO / CEO with a large multi-billion dollar credit union where he was responsible for strategic direction, corporate finance and accounting, asset / liability management, insurance risk, and a $1.3 billion investment portfolio.
Paulina Gonzalez-Brito, Chief Executive Officer of Rise Economy (formerly California Reinvestment Coalition), has dedicated more than 20 years to leading economic justice organizing campaigns.
Jennifer Esteen, an RN with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, is also Vice President of the Alameda Health System Board of Trustees, and a union organizer serving as Vice President of Organizing for SEIU 1021 and on the SEIU 1021 Executive Board.
Four local jurisdictions – Alameda County and the cities of Richmond, Oakland and Berkeley – have all demonstrated support of a public bank in the East Bay by passing resolutions and contributing financially to the bank’s planning. Today, PBEB is introducing Waite to Alameda County Board of Supervisors, as well as Berkeley and Richmond City Councils. Oakland’s City Council’s introduction is scheduled in two weeks.
East Bay’s decision to raise its start-up money itself, independently from government funding, while arduous, has given the public control over the process.
PBEB’s press release describes their vision for the bank:
It will be a transformative institution that keeps our municipal money local, allowing local governments to divest from Wall Street, while reinvesting its profits back into our community. As a wholesale bank, PBEB will partner with community banks, credit unions and CDFIs to finance affordable housing development, small businesses (especially for marginalized entrepreneurs), the renovation and electrification of existing buildings, and the opportunity for cities and counties to refinance their municipal debt locally.
Debbie Notkin, Chair of the Board of the nonprofit group that has been leading the Public Bank East Bay effort, shares her thoughts:
“The East Bay is leading the public banking movement in reaching these milestones, but we couldn’t have gotten here without the whole movement’s forward progress. We celebrate our East Bay community’s eagerness to take this innovative leap.”