Public banking serves as a powerful tool for keeping taxpayer dollars within local communities. Public banks are non-profit lending and depository institutions owned by a local agency, such as a city or county, with a public mandate to serve the needs of the community. 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.

Currently, Los Angeles taxpayers pay Wall Street banks over $340 million in fees and $1.3 billion in interest each year. Additionally, more than $2 billion of city funds are invested in petrochemical companies and multinational banks, supporting private profits at the expense of the public. By accepting deposits and handling banking services, a public bank would empower the City of Los Angeles to move public funds away from private megabanks that finance harmful activities such as fossil fuels and prioritize profit over local communities, regional development, and environmental sustainability.

The Los Angeles Public Bank will be chartered with socially and environmentally responsible mandates and will strive to serve the needs of underserved members of the community. The public bank will keep public money local, returning profits and interest to invest in the long-term economic health of our city. It will bring democracy and transparency to the banking and investment of public funds, and be accountable to Los Angeles communities, rather than private shareholders. The result will be more customized service at a lower cost, while keeping our money local and values at the forefront.

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. This legislation empowered California cities, counties, and regions to form their own public banks, which are accountable to local communities and state regulations rather than 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 Commission, which is chaired by California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, convened in September 2022. 

These legislative victories will bring responsible banking services to municipalities and the general public, ensuring that cities can redirect scarce public dollars to fund essential services and enabling people to shape the economic development of their communities. They will also help to eliminate racial and economic inequalities 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.

The California Public Banking Act (AB 857), passed in 2019, established the legal and regulatory framework for cities and counties to establish their own public banks. To do so, municipalities must go through the following process:

1. A local agency must conduct a study to assess the viability of a public bank and develop a business plan for the proposed bank.
2. The business plan and governance proposal must be approved by the local government agency.
3. State and federal regulators, the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI), and the FDIC, must review and approve the application to establish a public bank.

In January 2022, California's regulatory agency, the DFPI, established the legal code and regulations for public banks. With these regulations in place, advocates are now collaborating with local governments, including the Los Angeles City Council, to implement city- and region-owned public banks that cater to the specific needs of their communities.

Join our all-volunteer team and contribute your skills and expertise to the creation of a new public financial infrastructure that prioritizes the needs of our communities over the greed of Wall Street. Be a part of the historic efforts to establish the Public Bank of Los Angeles, the first and largest municipal public bank in the United States. Help us build a future where our financial systems work for the benefit of all, not just a select few.

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