Los Angeles could be 1st major U.S. city to get a public bank

by Public Bank LA
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ABC7 News - October 8, 2021. Los Angeles might be the first major metropolitan city to create a public bank. A public bank would be owned and operated by the city.

Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to take the first steps in seeing the viability of a public bank. According to city councilmembers, it aims to help low-income communities and could provide investment opportunities at a local level. And they say the bank operations would include:

Credit access for small businesses Financing for affordable and social housing Plus, opportunities for green energy investments
Continue reading and watch the video on ABC 7 News.

Council Takes Significant Step to Advance Proposal for a Public Bank in LA

by Public Bank LA
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MEDIA ADVISORY

Council Takes Significant Step to Advance Proposal for a Public Bank in LA

A first in a major city, the municipal bank of Los Angeles would create a public source of socially-responsible and democratically accountable investment and financing for public entities, small businesses and green energy projects

WHAT: The City Council today voted unanimously to release a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking qualified consultants to conduct an analysis and study the viability of creating a Public Bank in Los Angeles. Today’s action by the City Council could lead to the formation of a City-owned bank in Los Angeles, the first of its kind in a major metropolitan locality. At 1 p.m., elected officials will be joined by advocates to talk about the importance of this morning’s vote and the significance behind the City having its own financial institution as Los Angeles enters into a post-pandemic recovery phase. LA’s Public Bank would be able to invest in areas such as credit access for small businesses (targeting disadvantaged neighborhoods), helping finance affordable housing, green energy investment and developing credit programs, among other services.

WHO:

  • LA City Councilmember of the Ninth District, Curren Price
  • LA City Councilmember of the Fourth District, Nithya Raman
  • California State Assemblymember of the 53rd District, Miguel Santiago
  • Secretary-Treasurer UFCW Local 770, Kathy Finn
  • Co-founder Public Bank LA and California Public Banking Alliance (CPBA), Trinity Tran
  • Los Angeles Director ACCE, Joe Delgado Executive Director
  • Inclusive Action for the City, Rudy Espinoza 

WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m.

WHERE: LA City Hall-South Lawn

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California Public Banking Option Act (AB 1177) Passes the State Legislature

by Public Bank LA
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September 10, 2021 – By Trinity Tran, Rick Girling, and Steve Sittig, California Public Banking Alliance.

Today the California State Legislature approved landmark legislation guaranteeing universal free banking access to all Californians. AB 1177 sets into motion the creation of the CalAccount program guaranteeing all California residents access to basic banking services without fees or penalties. The California Public Banking Option Act addresses the inequities in financial services acutely felt by communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic and recession, inequalities such as discrimination, predatory lending, and vicious spirals of debt.

Californians are demanding banking reform because Wall Street banks have historically failed low-income communities of color. The State Legislature’s approval of AB 1177 paves the way for a banking system centered on people instead of profits. In just a few months, AB 1177 has garnered extraordinary support in the effort to assure that all Californians gain access to banking services. The California Public Banking Alliance, along with AB 1177 co-sponsors, SEIU California and the California Reinvestment Coalition, gained endorsements from over 230 labor, community, and environmental justice groups to extend financial services to unbanked and underbanked residents. This broad support paid off handsomely as the legislation moved through the State Legislature and now heads to the Governor’s desk.

A public option for essential financial services can replace exploitative alternatives to traditional banking, reducing the wealth gap and helping Californians to avoid catastrophic debt. As many AB 1177 supporters have explained, it’s very expensive to be poor. Minimum balance requirements, late fees, overdraft fees, higher interest rate charges for loans to the financially insecure, as well as check cashing and money order fees add up to substantial financial burdens placed on those least able to pay. As Mayron Payes testified to the State Assembly, “A lot of street vendors don’t have a banking relationship because of the high fees and couldn’t maintain the minimum balance. Many of them are operating on a cash basis and couldn’t open a bank account.” This law would provide a banking card to all residents who request one that will enable them to have access to free banking services essential to everyday living.

There is a broad basis of support for this needed financial reform. The state’s largest union, SEIU California with 700,000 members, is the primary proponent. Other labor unions such as the California Labor Federation and UFCW Western States Union have joined in. Community activist groups are showing strong support. Indivisible CA: StateStrong and 350.org chapters throughout the state are mobilizing their members to advocate for AB 1177. Environmental activists such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace International see the benefits of making financial services available to all.

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