public banking

WhoWhatWhy — New York City, once the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, is bouncing back. Broadway is reopening its doors, international tourists are arriving, and workers are returning to jobs. 

But not all the way. According to the New York City Recovery Index, the city is still just about 80 percent “back.” Hotels are still running deficits, office vacancies are at a 30-year high, and small businesses — hundreds of which closed in 2020 and 2021 — are facing long roads to recovery.

Fresh off his electoral victory, Eric Adams declared that his administration will look abroad for policy solutions to New York City’s myriad social and economic problems. “Let’s learn what they’re doing there so we can do it here,” he urged.

It just so happens, there’s a broad-based citywide coalition pressing for a bold policy solution that is common throughout the world: public banking. Bringing public banking to New York, as a proven strategy for addressing racial and economic inequality, should rank among Mayor-elect Adams’ top priorities.

This afternoon the NYS Community Equity Agenda, a coalition of more than 40 community, labor, and civil rights groups, cooperative organizations, and community development financial institutions from across New York, released its policy priorities for 2022.

Recently, the New York City Board of Health passed a resolution directing the Health Department to work with other City agencies to eliminate systemic racism in policies relating to housing, economic opportunities, and other social determinants of health – key drivers of health inequities. “The Covid-19 pandemic must render unacceptable that which has been condoned for generations,” emphasized Health Commissioner Dave A. Chokshi. 

New Economy Project is pleased to have collaborated with The Vance Center for International Justice to present this timely panel and report on public banking around the world. We are grateful to The Vance Center for carrying out such an ambitious research project, which generated well over 100 pages of detailed survey data from seven public banks on four continents. We are excited to share key insights from the report with activists, policymakers and others working to bring public banking to New York.

Please join us on Thursday, October 14 at 5:30 p.m., for our fall briefing for New Economy Project’s community of supporters. This quarterly briefing will highlight our groundbreaking work to win a public bank for NYC.

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.”