public banking

New Economy Project’s Co-Director, Deyanira Del Río, testified before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions last week on the growing movement for local public banking in New York. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who spoke at the hearing—one of the first on public banking in modern American history—said it was a “historic day and a day worth celebrating.” 

My testimony today will address ways in which our current financial system serves to extract wealth, and the need to strengthen and enforce laws to hold banks and other financial institutions accountable to people and communities. At the same time, we must focus on creating public banks and other institutions that are designed to build community wealth and serve the public interest.

The 20 undersigned organizations are pleased to respond to New York City’s Shared Equity Request for Information (RFI). We believe that New York City should be a beacon for cooperative economics, advancing racial and gender equity and community-led development. Our organizations include cooperatives and community land trusts, as well as grassroots and member-led groups that have developed these and other shared equity strategies in Black, brown, and immigrant communities. Also included are organizations that provide critical financing, legal assistance, training and other support to community-led initiatives.

This response to the Shared Equity RFI discusses ways in which a local public bank in NYC would advance shared equity goals, and provides context on current state and municipal policy efforts toward creating a municipal public bank in NYC. Fundamentally, we see public banking as a catalyst for cooperative and community-led development in Black, brown, and immigrant communities, including those hardest hit by the pandemic.

The Nation — Even as the pandemic devastated New York City, megabanks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America continued to do a roaring trade. And now those financial behemoths are set to manage the funds that New York City and other municipalities will be deploying for the recovery. But financial justice advocates want to see the City move its money from the Wall Street titans to a public bank, owned and operated by the people.