The San Francisco Reinvestment Working Group (RWG), an advisory committee tasked with exploring the creation of a municipality-owned bank, voted May 16 to advance what the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition calls an “actionable, sustainable, and practical plan” for the first municipal public bank in the country.
According to the plan, the RWG proposal would first set up a publicly owned non-depository municipal finance corporation (MFC) that will invest in key city needs, such as affordable housing, small businesses, and green infrastructure. The MFC is designed to work in partnership with San Francisco’s many dedicated CFIs and CDFIs through participation and syndication lending and other collaborative approaches.
The MFC would operate for three years during which time the City would seek regulatory approval to establish the public bank from the FDIC and California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (CDFPI). The plan assumes that, after three years of MFC operations, the MFC’s capital, assets, and liabilities would be rolled into the newly operational public bank.
The RWG’s plans and studies will be presented to the Board of Supervisors at the July 20 meeting of the Government Audit and Oversight Committee. Supervisor Dean Preston, who chairs this committee, anticipates it will take the Board three to five months to draft the legislation and take it to the finish line.
Jackie Fielder, co-founder of SFPB, said in a statement:
“[The RWG have] delved into the existing gaps for small businesses, affordable housing, and green energy, especially post-pandemic. Our city urgently needs a public bank for economic recovery, and the plan provides officials with a no-brainer blueprint.”