financial justice

More than two of every five middle class New Yorkers in their 50s are headed for poverty or near-poverty in retirement. Typical workers in the bottom 90 percent of earnings will need almost a third more income in retirement to maintain their standard of living. And fewer workers of color have access to workplace retirement savings option than whites – escalating their potential for experiencing ‘downward mobility.’

As global leaders assemble for the United Nations-backed 4th Annual Climate Finance Day, New Yorkers, including representatives of environmental, community and student groups, rallied at City Hall and called on NYC to divest public money from banks that fuel climate change and to establish a municipal public bank to help fund the transition to a just, sustainable economy.

This month, the New York Times reported on the lack of enforcement activity at the Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department, showing yet another way corporations engaged in various forms of malfeasance get a free pass from the Trump administration.

Same goes for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where enforcement actions have all but screeched to a halt.

Crain’s New York Business — Debt collectors in New York hit upon a big idea last decade: They would buy defaulted credit-card or health-care bills, sue debtors without notifying them and then falsely state they had been properly served. Defendants, often poor minorities, didn’t show up in court. Default judgments were routinely entered, leaving collectors free to garnish debtors’ wages.

I’m pleased to present testimony on behalf of Public Bank NYC, a broad-based coalition New Economy project co-founded and coordinates. Public Bank NYC is made up of community, civil rights, environmental, and economic justice groups fighting for the creation of a municipal public bank – chartered to serve the public interest, accountable to New Yorkers, and rooted in principles of racial and economic justice.

On August 3, 2018, nearly two dozen people from NYC community organizing and cooperative development organizations packed into our conference room for an engaging lunch discussion with Álvaro Porro, Social Economy Commissioner for the City of Barcelona. Barcelona’s story presents a powerful model for New York City, and we were eager for this extended opportunity to hear about his work.

One day, Kenneth Lovell went to a local electronics store to buy a transistor radio. He left the store more than $17,000 in debt, with three bank credit cards issued in his name. How did this happen? Listen to Kenneth and his brother Patrick Lovell tell their story.

How did Brooklyn resident Kenneth Lovell, a retired janitor living on a fixed-income and with no credit history, find himself thousands of dollars in debt? It’s a refrain we’ve heard before on our NYC Financial Justice Hotline: Wall Street banks working in cahoots with retail stores, doctors’ offices, and others to exploit low-income New Yorkers. […]