On October 13, 2023, AFLEP Executive Director Angela Merkert faced four community bankers, plus two CEOs of NM Bank Associations — a formidable six-headed Banking Bull harnessed to the status quo who echoed “there’s not a problem!” By their side was The NM Finance Authority offering research that affirmed our findings but with small fixes and a “we’ve got it taken care of” attitude.
Standing with AFLEP was a Northern NM Farmer who shared his story as proof of the enormous challenges rural New Mexicans face when seeking farm or small business loans.
The Bull charged in, brandishing the “riskiness” of a public bank and arguing it would “cripple” our community banks — two myths easily proven false by North Dakota, where a state public bank has garnered large budget surpluses, high credit availability, and the highest per capita network of community banks in the US!
The truth is the Banking Bull’s “Profits First!” business model and regulatory limits have dug them in to resist change. Strong ties to Wall Street Banks obscure their view “outside the box,” making them unable to grasp how a public bank could complement their services and bridge NM’s documented lending gaps.
Like the fearless girl statue in front of the famous Wall Street bull, we are small but not easily intimidated. We persist in winning over legislators with true stories, generative solutions, and hard facts.