“Never let a good crisis go to waste”

News Headlines

By Andy Morrison

Interest in public banking has surged in the wake of the sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank – the second and third largest bank failures in U.S. history – and it is easy to understand why.

As in 2008, the federal government has once again taken extraordinary measures to effectively bail out reckless banks, in the process encouraging more risky and speculative behavior. And once again, New Economy Project has leapt into action, working with a powerful coalition to transform our financial system and advance racial and economic justice.

Signature Bank’s failure, in particular, hits close to home. Gothamist reported that NYC had $60 million of our public money on deposit with the New York State-chartered bank when it imploded last month. The report further called attention to Signature’s widespread financing of “real estate speculators and large investment firms that sought to drive out tenants and raise rents as a core business model” – an egregious lending practice we and others in the housing justice movement have long denounced.

Many are now rightly asking, “Is this banking system the best we can do?” That’s the question The Nation posed in a recent article calling for a “public banking option.” The article goes on to describe our groundbreaking work with groups to get New York to create a legal framework for local public banking:

New York progressives see room for an alternative. Even before this latest bank failure, they were pushing for the passage of the New York Public Banking Act – one of many proposals across the country that could transform American finance.

Imagine a people’s bank that responsibly stewards our public dollars while investing in permanently affordable housing, community solar, and other cooperative and community-led wealth-building initiatives in historically-redlined Black and brown neighborhoods.

The New York Public Banking Act would pave the way for New York City and other localities to create democratically-controlled financial institutions that put people over profits. Albany must meet the moment by enacting the bill this legislative session.

Take Action!