CPBA Takes Home the Equitable Futures Award

by Public Bank LA
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The California Public Banking Alliance (CPBA) received the Equitable Futures Award at the California Reinvestment Coalition award gala. Our important work in public banking and commitment to creating a more just and equitable economy for Californians was recognized in a stellar ceremony held in Los Angeles on November 3, 2022. The Public Bank LA (PBLA) team was proud to represent the Alliance.

CPBA and PBLA's lead organizer, Trinity Tran, accepted the award on behalf of our all-volunteer statewide coalition for our work establishing two historic public banking bills in the California State Legislature, paving the way for the national public banking movement.

The passage of the California Public Banking Act (AB 857) made California the first state in the nation to authorize the chartering of local public banks. CPBA followed that the next year by securing passage of the California Public Banking Option Act (AB 1177) which will provide universal financial services to unbanked and underbanked Californians.

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.

CPBA was recognized alongside our coalition compatriots SEIU California State Council, the largest public sector union in the state, and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago for championing progressive legislation, including the two public banking bills. The Alliance joined community members, allies and banking partners to celebrate the impact of our collective work on local communities.

Our coalition of public banking activists throughout California was founded in 2018 to create socially and environmentally responsible city and regional public banks. Since then, we’ve expanded our focus to make free basic banking services like check-cashing, direct deposit, and debit card accounts available to all Californians, removing barriers to financial stability that stand in the way of many working families.

Read our latest newsletter and sign up on our home page to stay connected to the Los Angeles and California public banking movement.

CalAccount Blue Ribbon Commissioners Confirmed

by Public Bank LA
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Great news over the summer! CalAccount, the statewide program to provide free financial services to the unbanked and underbanked, is moving ahead. We officially secured $2.7 million from the state budget to fund the CalAccount market analysis and Blue Ribbon Commission as required by AB 1177, the CA Public Banking Option Act, landmark legislation that we helped pass in 2021. Future funding for the programs will bring that total to over $4 million, as authorized by the State Treasurer and the Governor. Upon approval of the market analysis by the Senate and Assembly Banking committees, California will take another historic step when it rolls out the CalAccount program, making free checking accounts available to all Californians.

The CalAccount Commissioners have been appointed and are set to begin their work! Meet the 9-person board, chaired by State Treasurer Fiona Ma, tasked with determining the scope, feasibility, and costs of the program. The commission will issue a Request for Proposal for consultants to author the market analysis by July 2024, as required by AB 1177.

The first CalAccount commission meeting was held today. View the meeting agenda and stay tuned for the announcement on the second commission hearing.

CalAccount Blue Ribbon Commission
• Fiona Ma, California State Treasurer
• Clothilde “Cloey” Hewlett, Commissioner of the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation
• Paulina Gonzalez-Brito, California Reinvestment Coalition, Public Banking Advocate
• Byron Lopez, SEIU 2015, Employee Representative
• Father Gregory Boyle, Homeboy Industries, Economic and Racial Justice
• Miguel Santana, Weingart Foundation, Consumer Representative
• James “Jim” Hicken, Banking Expert
• Frank Robinson, Banking Expert
• Manisha Padi, UC Berkeley, Banking Expert – Academic Institution


Los Angeles Advances on the First Municipal Public Bank in the United States

by Public Bank LA
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The Los Angeles municipal bank would be the largest publicly held municipal bank in the nation. It will create a socially responsible and publicly accountable source of capital for investment in public goods, small businesses, and green infrastructure.

LOS ANGELES, California — 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.

The City is seeking proposals from organizations with knowledge of municipal finance and modeling social finance entities and experience engaging directly with stakeholders to set the priorities and principles of their financial institution. The RFP directs applicants to propose how they would evaluate the existing banking market in Los Angeles, including the current federal compliance of local banks and performance in banking City funds. Applicants will assess a public banking model along financial, risk, operational, and business lines, estimating startup and staffing costs, governance structures, capitalization, strategy and financial projections. In a second phase, applicants will develop a statement of purpose for the bank and complete an application to the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI), the state’s banking regulator and chartering agency.

Los Angeles City Council voted on October 5, 2021 to direct the CLA to issue the RFP after the council’s Economic Development and Jobs Committee chaired by Los Angeles City Councilmember Curren Price, ratified the amended motion originally proposed by Councilmember Herb Wesson. The motion expanded the Request for Proposals to include requirements described in Assembly Bill 857, the California Public Banking Act, a 2019 state law permitting the chartering of public banks by cities and counties to support community economic development and address infrastructure and housing needs for localities.

Read our press release on Medium.