public banking

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.

Today, an obscure public body, the NYC Banking Commission, will decide the fate of billions of public dollars when it meets to select which banks may hold the city’s cash for the next two years. The big question before the Commission is whether the city should resume banking with Wells Fargo after cutting ties with the scandal-ridden bank in 2017.

“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.

Capital Tonight — For decades, many banks in the U.S. denied mortgages to people of color based strictly on race or the neighborhood where they lived. The practice, which started in the 1930s, was called red-lining and it was backed by the U.S. government. It’s one of the reasons that black families lost out on the wealth accumulation that white families have leveraged for the past 90 years.

As the NYC Council’s Committee on Finance held its first hearing on a package of bills laying groundwork for a municipal bank, the Public Bank NYC coalition released new findings showing NYC’s “Designated Banks” – those authorized to hold municipal deposits – exacted more than $5 billion in predatory overdraft fees in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic devastated NYC and the country.

Today, community, labor, and cooperative groups from across the state joined NYS Senate Banks Chair James Sanders Jr. and NYS Assembly Banks Chair Victor M. Pichardo to rally for the “New York Public Banking Act” (S1762A/A5782). The bill creates a regulatory framework for New York cities, counties and regions seeking to establish local public banks—financial institutions created by cities and counties, and accountable to the people.