FOR IMMEDIATE RELASE: May 8, 2023
Contact: Mike Sandmel, email@example.com, 617-710-7000
160+ COMMUNITY AND LABOR GROUPS CALL ON ALBANY TO PASS NY PUBLIC BANKING ACT
As the legislative session enters final stretch, groups demand Senate and Assembly leaders bring majority-co-sponsored framework for local public banks to a vote.
New York, NY – Today, 163 organizations from across New York State delivered a letter to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie urging swift passage of the “New York Public Banking Act” (S1754/A3352) to advance racial and economic justice and ensure that public money works for the public good.
The bill, which is co-sponsored by a majority of State Senators and nearly two-thirds of the Assembly Majority Conference, creates a safe and appropriate regulatory framework for New York cities, counties, and regions seeking to establish local public banks.
In the wake of recent bank failures, momentum for public banks has hit a fever pitch. Public banks, created by local governments and accountable to local residents, would provide localities with a sorely-needed public option for government deposits. Public banks would leverage public funds and reinvest in affordable housing, green jobs, equitable financial services, renewable energy, infrastructure, and other local needs.
Organizational signatories to the letter reflect widespread and diverse support for public banking statewide, and include community and faith-based organizations, labor unions, housing, environmental, and civil groups, small businesses, neighborhood-based financial institutions, and more.
Local governments across the state are also signaling their enthusiasm to move forward with public banking. In March, more than 100 elected officials representing 33 different local governments across the state delivered their own letter to the Senate Majority Leader and Assembly Speaker calling for enactment of the New York Public Banking Act. Signatories to that letter included every member of the Rochester City Council, and more than two-thirds of the New York City Council – which recently held a hearing on a package of bills that would lay the foundation for a municipal bank.
“This is a moment for Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie to show New Yorkers where they stand. On one side is an incredibly diverse array of groups calling for reinvestment in Black, brown, and low-income communities. On the other side are massive Wall Street banks that are lobbying to maintain their lucrative monopoly on public deposits,” said Mike Sandmel, Senior Campaign Organizer with New Economy Project, a NYC-based racial and economic justice organization that coordinates coalition efforts on public banking. “The choice is clear. The Legislature must stand with New Yorkers and pass the New York Public Banking Act this session.”
“For far too long, our reliance on Wall Street has fueled the rise of deep inequities in our state,” said Hae-Lin Choi, Political Director, Communications Workers of America District One. “The creation of local public banks would be a critical step forward for New York State, allowing us to reinvest billions in communities, create affordable housing and support small businesses that provide living wages. New Yorkers need and deserve public institutions whose missions are centered around serving people first–rather than greedy corporations that only prioritize their own bottom line.”
“It’s time for New York to take action to begin the steps towards ushering in public banks as part of the banking system that meets the needs of all New York’s communities.” Said Melissa Marquez, CEO of Genesee Co-op Federal Credit Union in Rochester. “We need to put local dollars to work for the benefit of local needs, in partnership with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI’s) and other community lenders.”
“Hudson Valley communities need the Public Banking Act – to take public money away from greedy corporate banks, back into public hands, and invest it into our communities,” said Brahvan Ranga, Political Director of For The Many, a community organization in the Mid-Hudson Region. “Local public banks could be a groundbreaking tool to tackle the crises facing Hudson Valley: from housing, to healthcare, to infrastructure.”