Gotham Gazette- Reopening the door to Wells Fargo suggests that city officials have not learned the lessons of the past year, or decades. In the face of New York’s severe affordable housing shortage, climate devastation, and extreme racial wealth inequality—all exacerbated by COVID-19—we need bold action.

A public bank would build wealth and power in communities hardest hit by the pandemic. It’s needed now more than ever.

Members of the Public Bank NYC coalition and the NYC Council slammed the NYC Banking Commission’s decision today to approve Wells Fargo’s request to resume holding New York City deposits – potentially billions of dollars. The Banking Commission – composed of the Mayor, Comptroller and Commissioner of Finance, and charged with selecting which banks may hold city deposits – voted today without allowing any input from the public.

“The NYS Senate leadership missed a crucial opportunity to bring about a just recovery, when it suddenly removed the NY Public Banking Act from today’s Banks Committee agenda—despite Wall Street’s long legacy of extracting wealth from communities and redlining Black and brown neighborhoods.

“Thanks to this important legislation, debt collectors are now prohibited from siphoning New Yorkers’ COVID-19 stimulus payments. The new law ensures that federal relief funds actually provide relief to New Yorkers, not windfalls for the debt collection industry. New Economy Project is proud to have worked on this crucial bill with ally organizations, as we continue the fight for racial and economic justice and a just recovery for all New Yorkers.”

Community and affordable housing activists are celebrating NYC Council’s announcement of $870,000 in FY2020 discretionary funding for community land trusts (CLTs) across NYC. The funding will help incubate and expand CLTs to develop permanently-affordable housing and curb displacement in low-income NYC neighborhoods.

Dozens of community land trust (CLT) organizers, supporters, and community members rallied this morning at City Hall, urging the NYC Council to support a new funding initiative to incubate and expand CLTs in all five NYC boroughs. The proposed initiative, championed by Council Members Donovan Richards and Carlina Rivera, comes at a critical moment, as more than a dozen CLTs are taking root in the South and Northwest Bronx, East Harlem, Brownsville, Jackson Heights, and beyond, to curb displacement and advance community-led development.

New Economy Project recently sat down with Pablo DeFilippi and Rene Vargas Martinez from Inclusiv to learn about their work supporting financial cooperatives (or “cooperativas”) in Puerto Rico. While mainstream banks have been widely criticized for abandoning the Island or profiting off disaster, the cooperativas have been central to Puerto Rico’s resilience and recovery. The […]

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