Public banking serves as a powerful tool to keep taxpayer dollars in local communities. Public banks are lending and depository institutions owned by a local agency, like a city or county, with a non-profit public purpose governed by a public mandate responsive to local needs. The Los Angeles Public Bank will leverage its deposit base and lending power to benefit LA residents with affordable housing, small business loans, modernization of public infrastructure and other community needs.

Los Angeles taxpayers currently pay Wall Street banks over $340 million in fees and $1.3 billion in interest yearly. Right now, more than $2 billion of city funds are invested in petrochemical companies and multinational banks. Our City is supporting private profits at a public cost. By accepting deposits and handling banking services, a public bank empowers the City of Los Angeles to move public funds out of private megabanks which finance harmful activities such as fossil fuels and projects that place profit over local communities, regional development, and care for the planet.

The Los Angeles Public Bank will be chartered with socially and environmentally responsible mandates and strive to serve the needs of the community by ensuring the meaningful participation of members underserved by private commercial banks. LA's Public Bank will keep public money locally, returning profit and interest to invest in the long term economic health of our city. A public bank will bring democracy and transparency to the banking and investment of public funds.

The Los Angeles Public Bank will be accountable to Los Angeles communities—answerable to the people, not private shareholders. The result is more customized service at less cost, while keeping our money local and our values front and center.

Workers

  • Strengthens local economies by supporting local businesses and the creation of jobs.
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In June 2022, the Los Angeles City Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA) released a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking consultants to author a viability study and business plan for a proposed Los Angeles public bank. This RFP issuance represents the culmination of a historic effort to realign the city’s financial infrastructure with its values and the pressing needs of its nearly four million residents. Once complete, this plan will outline next steps for Los Angeles to establish a public bank via a state-issued charter.

After the historic Measure B campaign that saw over 430,000 Angelenos voting yes on a Los Angeles public bank, Public Bank LA became a founding a member of the California Public Banking Alliance which sponsored and spearheaded the landmark Public Banking Act, Assembly Bill 857, empowering California cities, counties and regions to form their own public bank. Such banks will be wholly accountable to local communities and state regulations, not Wall Street profit mandates. AB 857 was made law and cleared the way for Los Angeles to start a bank without a ballot measure. Public Bank LA’s work focuses on the City of Los Angeles and the broader LA area.

Public Bank Los Angeles followed our first victory by helping pass California's second public banking bill, the Public Banking Option Act (AB 1177), signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in October 2021. AB 1177 creates the CalAccount Blue Ribbon Commission tasked with producing a market analysis of the CalAccount program. Upon implementation, CalAccount will provide free, universal financial services to unbanked and underbanked Californians. The CalAccount Blue Ribbon Commission convened in September 2022 and is chaired by California State Treasurer Fiona Ma. 

These legislative victories will bring responsible banking services to municipalities and the general public, ensuring that cities can reroute scarce public dollars to fund essential services while enabling people to determine the future economic development of their communities. Additionally, these measures will aid in removing racial and economic inequities by making essential banking services accessible to all.

Public Bank Los Angeles is endorsed by a broad intersection of over 100 community organizations including labor, social justice, environmental, democratic clubs, and leaders including: Los Angeles County Democratic Party, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), Communication Workers of America (CWA), American Postal Workers Union (APWU), SEIU 721, UFCW Local 770, UNITE HERE 11, Labor Council For Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) LA, Alliance for Community Transit Los Angeles (ACT-LA), SoCal 350 Climate Action, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), Governor Gavin Newsom, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, Former LA City Council President Herb Wesson, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Bill McKibben-Co-Founder of 350.org and Our Revolution.  

Socially and environmentally responsible municipal public banks are endorsed by both the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, representing 2.4 million registered Democrats, and the California Democratic Party, representing 8.7 million registered Democrats in California.

View our full list of endorsements.

Passed in 2019, the California Public Banking Act (AB 857), is the law that permits cities and counties to form their own banks. The three key elements for municipalities seeking to establish public banks are:

1. A local agency must conduct a study to assess viability and develop a business plan for the proposed public bank;
2. The business plan and governance proposal requires approval from the local government agency;
3. Approval of an application from the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI).

With the legal framework for public banks now established in California, various regional authorities including the Los Angeles City Council are working to complete the key elements above to implement the law.

We're an all-volunteer team. Lend your skills and expertise to build new public financial infrastructure that puts our communities first and an end to Wall Street greed. Join the historic efforts to create the Public Bank of Los Angeles—the first and largest municipal public bank in the nation! 

Fill out our Organizer Form or reach out to us to learn more.