public banking

Dozens of New Yorkers representing community groups across the city testified today at the first-ever public hearing before the NYC Banking Commission on the designation of banks eligible to hold municipal deposits. A familiar refrain at the hearing was the call for a public bank to hold city funds and reinvest in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color that the big banks routinely fail to serve.

This year, the City of New York will collect more than $100 billion in revenue, from taxes and other sources, to fund public services. Currently, most of this money is placed on deposit with large, commercial banks that systematically harm New Yorkers and finance fossil fuels, speculative real estate, and other destructive industries. Public banking offers a bold alternative, and we urge the City Council to take immediate steps toward establishing a public bank, starting with swiftly passing “The People’s Bank Act.”

The New York City Council Committee on Finance held a hearing today on a series of bills, collectively dubbed “The People’s Bank Act,” to create a public bank in New York City. A public bank will enable the city to leverage its immense financial resources toward advancing economic security and shared prosperity for all New Yorkers. Public banks around the world, including the century-old Bank of North Dakota, have a strong track record of making equitable investments, providing high-quality financial services to underserved neighborhoods, and building community wealth.

The Nation — After Silicon Valley Bank failed earlier this month—the largest bank to do so since Washington Mutual in 2008—blame was rightfully placed on a number of culprits: congressional deregulation, reckless Federal Reserve policy, and of course, absurd mismanagement from the board of the bank itself.

Public News Service — The New York State Legislature is considering a bill to allow the creation of public banks. The New York Public Banking Act would authorize municipal and other local governments to form and control public banks through ownership interests such as capital stock. The hope is these banks will invest in community endeavors rather than interests in line with making the bank profit. A report from the Rainforest Action Network said some of the largest banks in the nation are heavily invested in the fossil-fuel industry despite world policy shifts to renewable energies.