Public banking movement gaining traction in California

by Public Bank LA
in News
Hits: 171

Capitol Weekly - July 1, 2021 - California cities from Los Angeles to San Francisco to the Central Coast are moving forward with establishing AB 857 public banks. "Los Angeles made progress in its quest for a public bank. In a unanimous vote, the city’s Economic Development and Jobs Committee approved the motion for the formation of the Municipal Bank of Los Angeles."  

San Francisco has taken its first major step toward establishing a public bank, and other California municipalities are also moving forward in exploring public banking, including a regional effort by cities and counties on the Central Coast.  

The moves come nearly two years after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 857, enabling California cities and counties to form public banks. These are locally-controlled financial institutions into which municipal revenues — such as taxes and fees — are deposited. The money is then lent out to small businesses and infrastructure projects, among others, through partnerships with community banks. The goal is to directly benefit residents, while providing not-for-profit services for citizens who choose to use the bank.

A state public bank was formed in North Dakota more than a century ago, although no cities or counties in the nation have public banks. But the California statute reportedly is adding fuel to a nationwide public banking effort.

By law, a public bank in California must be run by banking professionals responsible to a board and overseen by California’s Department of Business Oversight. 

“We finally have the option of reinvesting our public tax dollars in our local communities instead of rewarding Wall Street’s bad behavior,” Assemblyman David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat and coauthor of AB 857, said at the time of the governor’s signing.

On June 15, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the San Francisco Reinvestment Working Group ordinance. Penned by Supervisor Dean Preston, the ordinance authorizes the creation of a working group made up of financial experts, community members, and representatives of the city’s Controller and Treasurer. 

The working group has one year from its first meeting to create a business plan to present to the Board of Supervisors and Local Agency Formation Commission, which, if approved, will be submitted to the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation. However, before the working group can convene, it must be funded. Currently, there is no money earmarked in the mayor’s proposed budget to support a reinvestment working group. 

The creation of the working group is the latest in San Francisco’s decade-long drive to establish a public bank which includes dozens of hearings, meetings and studies, including last year’s Municipal Bank Feasibility Task Force Report.  That study outlined three possible routes that San Francisco get into public banking, all of which, if approved, will take years to see to fruition.   

Cities and counties on California’s Central Coast are in the starting stages of creating a regional public bank.

Led by Santa Cruz County, resolutions supporting a Central Coast Public Bank viability study have been passed in Monterey and Santa Barbara counties, as well as the cities of Santa Cruz, Capitola, Seaside, Scotts Valley, Del Rey Oaks, and Watsonville.

In a unanimous vote, the city’s Economic Development and Jobs Committee approved the motion for the formation of the Municipal Bank of Los Angeles.

Led by Santa Cruz County, resolutions supporting a Central Coast Public Bank viability study have been passed in Monterey and Santa Barbara counties, as well as the cities of Santa Cruz, Capitola, Seaside, Scotts Valley, Del Rey Oaks, and Watsonville.

Continue reading on Capitol Weekly.

Leave your comments

Comments

  • No comments found

Lend your skills and talents to put an end to Wall Street greed and join the historic efforts to create the Public Bank of Los Angeles and the first municipal public bank in the nation! 

Fill out our Organizer Form.