Today Americans Determine Our Political Future

by Public Bank LA
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John Nichols, The Nation. Public Bank LA is one of the "five contests that could signal where we’re headed on climate change, criminal-justice reform, financial reform, net neutrality, and militarism."

Los Angeles will vote on a charter amendment to remove barriers to developing a city-owned bank. The proposal represents an initial step in the complicated process of developing a municipal bank along the lines of the 99-year-old state-owned Bank of North Dakota. But make no mistake: LA’s first step is a big one—especially at a moment when communities and states across the country are exploring to alternatives to Wall Street. The grassroots Public Bank LA campaign—which has drawn support from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, LA City Council President Herb Wesson, major unions, Our Revolution, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters—has made a compelling case for a people’s bank. “Last year the City of Los Angeles paid $170 million in banking fees and $1.1 billion in interest to big banks and investors. Banks have leveraged our tax dollars to finance harmful industries including private prisons, fossil fuel extraction, and weapons manufacturing. In 2017, the City of Los Angeles divested its funds from Wells Fargo, which was fined billions of dollars for creating illegal customer accounts, has a history of discriminating against Latino and African-American home buyers, and finances industries harmful to Angelenos. Local community banks are too small to manage the city’s funds, but Wall Street is not the only alternative,” the group reminds voters. “Banking as a public utility is a proven model worldwide. Public banks keep money local and cut costs by eliminating middlemen, shareholders and high-paid executives.”

Continue reading on The Nation.

Will Public Banking Free LA From Wall Street?

by Public Bank LA
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Mike Prysner reporting for The Real News Network. In a special report, Mike Prysner speaks to organizers and experts calling for Los Angeles residents to vote ‘yes’ on ballot measure B, which would establish a public bank that could set nationwide precedent for municipalities to divest from Wall Street.

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Public banks are less risky than Wall Street

by Public Bank LA
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Chris Roth of Public Bank LA responds to a piece in the Hill written by Rob Nichols, the president and CEO of the American Bankers Association.

Rob Nichols is the president and CEO of the American Bankers Association. The byline of his piece over at The Hill on Friday probably should have lead with that so readers could prepare themselves for the misleading ideas about public banking he was peddling.

Rob claims “a scattered business focus, undue political influence and lack of oversight” are the top risks involved with the creation of a municipal bank. The organizers supporting Measure B wholeheartedly agree. That is why all three of those areas have been at the forefront of the discussions with state regulators regarding the eventual structure of the Municipal Bank of Los Angeles. If Nichols had bothered to learn about what has been discussed he would have known this.

The proposed Municipal Bank of Los Angeles would be a “bankers bank” and would not compete with local community banks or credit unions. It would not seek to compete with those institutions in providing banking services directly to Angelenos, but rather help those very institutions expand their services by partnering with them to increase the supply of capital that is available to invest in the local economy. The Municipal Bank of Los Angeles would focus on providing the same kinds of services to the City of Los Angeles that the Bank of North Dakota provides to its namesake, through the same kind of scrupulous and conservative investment strategies that have served North Dakotans so well over the last century.

Continue reading on KNOCK LA.