JULY 18 CalAccount Flyer_v2

Join Us for the CalAccount Hearings on July 18th in Sacramento + Los Angeles

Over the past year, the CalAccount Community Coalition has tirelessly advocated through reports, testimony, and public input, stressing the urgency of providing fee-free checking accounts with debit card access to all Californians. Working families, especially those facing financial hardship, shouldn’t have to pay overdraft fees and other predatory penalties to access their own money!

On July 1st, RAND released the 
CalAccount Market Study & Feasibility Assessment, commissioned by the State Treasurer’s Office, stating that CalAccount is feasible and necessary to address financial inclusion and the needs of unbanked and underbanked populations in California. This gives us the green light to introduce legislation next year for legislative approval of the program, making CalAccount the nation’s first state-administered universal banking program.

JOIN US ON JULY 18th:
 We’re coordinating public support for CalAccount in Sacramento and Los Angeles. The Sacramento hearing will be held at the State Treasurer’s Office. Supporters will meet at SEIU State Council‘s office in Sacramento at 12pm on July 18th for a brief training session and lunch. They will then walk (about 3 blocks) to the State Treasurer’s office where the commission hearing will be held. 

In Los Angeles, we will be convening on July 18th at 12pm at
 SEIU 2015 Union Hall and will call in to participate remotely for public comments.

Sacramento – July 18th – View/Download the Sacramento Flyer

12pm – SEIU State Council – 
1029 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
1pm – Commission Hearing at State Treasurer’s Office – 901 P Street, Conference Rm 102, Sacramento, CA 95818

Los Angeles – July 18th – View/Download the LA Flyer

12pm – SEIU 2015 Union Hall – 
2910 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057
1pm – Remote call-in for public comment.

Reach out to us at 
info@capublicbanking.com and let us know if you will be able to join us in either Sacramento or LA.

Read More
unnamed

Your Voice Matters: Shape the Future of Banking in California Today!

Shape the Future of Banking in California!

California’s banking landscape should work for everyone, yet many face challenges like account fees and barriers to access. Let’s change that together.

Take a moment to share your banking experiences in this quick survey from the Roosevelt Institute, a non-profit research organization. Your insights will help us advocate for accessible, fee-free banking options across the state.

By participating, you can enter to join a paid focus group near you. Participants who enter their email in this survey will receive a follow-up email from the Roosevelt Institute requesting their availability (location, date, times) for focus groups. Compensation will be provided to those who schedule and attend a focus group.

Take this brief 10-minute survey in English or en Español .

(You can view the questions here ).

All survey responses will remain anonymous and used solely for research. No confidential or identifying information will be shared.

Please complete this survey by July 12th.


Your input is crucial in creating a fairer banking system for all Californians, particularly for low-income individuals and communities of color.

Thank you for making a difference!

California Public Banking Alliance


Tu voz cuenta: ¡Da forma al futuro bancario de California hoy mismo!


El panorama bancario de California debería funcionar para todos, sin embargo, muchos enfrentan desafíos como tarifas de cuenta y barreras de acceso. Cambiemos eso juntos.

Tómate un momento para compartir tus experiencias bancarias en esta breve encuesta del Roosevelt Institute, una organización de investigación sin fines de lucro. Tus opiniones nos ayudarán a abogar por opciones bancarias accesibles y sin tarifas en todo el estado.

Al participar, puedes inscribirte para unirte a un grupo de enfoque pagado cerca de ti. Los participantes que ingresen su correo electrónico en esta encuesta recibirán un correo electrónico de seguimiento del Roosevelt Institute solicitando su disponibilidad (ubicación, fecha, horarios) para los grupos de enfoque. Se proporcionará compensación a aquellos que programen y asistan a un grupo de enfoque.

Realice esta breve encuesta de 10 minutos 
en Español.

(
Puede ver las preguntas aquí.)

Todas las respuestas de la encuesta serán anónimas y se utilizarán únicamente para investigación. No se compartirá información confidencial o identificativa.

Por favor, complete esta encuesta antes del 12 de julio.

Tu opinión es crucial para crear un sistema bancario más justo para todos los californianos, especialmente para las personas de bajos ingresos y las comunidades de color.

¡Gracias por marcar la diferencia!

Alianza de Bancos Públicos de California

Read More
449145610_495199819689226_7154556616787204496_n

KPFA Covers CalAccount Briefing

KPFA covers CalAccount: 20% of California households cannot access basic financial services such as basic savings, checking accounts, and debit cards. CalAccount can save Californians $3.5 billion per year.

KPFA: https://kpfa.org/episode/the-pacifica-evening-news-weekdays-june-26-2024/

Listen here:
https://kpfa.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/IQBAL.mp3

Watch our webinar on the California Public Banking Alliance’s YouTube page: https://youtu.be/qKncSXqmZLU?feature=shared




Read More
techbrief

A Comprehensive Guide by CA Public Banking Alliance

Welcome to the June edition of the CA Public Banking Alliance (CPBA) Newsletter! We’re excited to share insights into the transformative power of public banking in California and beyond. Explore our technical brief, learn about our initiatives to ensure financial inclusion through CalAccount, and find out how you can support the ongoing banking revolution. Plus, we celebrate a historic milestone in Public Bank East Bay’s public banking progress!


CA Public Banking Alliance Technical Brief: Exploring the Mechanics and Benefits of Public Banks

Discover the transformative potential of public banking with the CA Public Banking Alliance Technical Brief. Our newly designed comprehensive guide covers essential topics, including:

  • Mechanics of a Public Bank: Understand how public banks operate and their fundamental principles.
  • Start-Up Capital and Lending Funds: Learn about various methods to acquire the necessary capital and funds for lending.
  • Sustainability: Explore strategies to ensure the long-term viability of a public bank.
  • Advantages of Public Banks: Discover the numerous benefits, from fostering local economic growth to supporting community projects.
  • Examples of Public Banks: Examine successful public banks in the US, and around the world, and their impact.
  • Financial Components: Gain insights into the financial structures that underpin public banking.
  • Risk Management: Identify the risks involved for both the public and the sponsoring entity and learn effective risk mitigation strategies.
  • Rate of Return: Get projections on the expected return on initial capital investments.
  • Municipal Finance Corporations: Learn about these entities and their role in public banking.
  • Green Banks: Understand the concept of green banks and their importance in driving sustainable projects.

For a deeper dive into these topics and more, read our updated technical brief.


Historic Resolution for East Bay Public Bank Charter Passed

On May 29, 2024, Richmond, CA’s City Council unanimously passed a resolution authorizing East Bay Public Bank organizers to apply to state and federal regulators for a bank charter. This is the first such government resolution in the U.S. in 100 years! Congratulations, Richmond!


Save the Date! CalAccount Town Halls in Los Angeles and Sacramento on July 18th!

Earlier this year, we held a series of statewide town halls attended by hundreds of people in coordination with the State Treasurer’s Office to uplift the voices of those affected by Wall Street’s harmful and unfair banking practices.

On July 18, 2024, in preparation for the release of the final CalAccount market analysis report, we’ll be convening our second town hall in Los Angeles and Sacramento. Your voice matters in bringing free banking to California. Stay tuned for details!

CalAccount was featured in La Opinión, the US’s largest Spanish-language paper. Read the coverage: Revolución bancaria en favor de los más vulnerables (Banking revolution for the most vulnerable; see English translation). 


Endorse CalAccount: Empower Californians with Free Financial Services

Join over 250 organizations in supporting CalAccount, a groundbreaking initiative to provide free financial services for all Californians. Over 30 percent of Black and Latina/Latino households are unbanked or underbanked. By endorsing CalAccount, your organization will help support financial inclusion, reduce the unbanked population, and ensure that all residents have access to essential banking services without the excessive fees, fines, penalties, and barriers posed by Wall Street banks and commercial financial institutions.

Endorse CalAccount today by signing our organizational support letter. If you have already endorsed, please reaffirm your commitment by signing our 2024 endorsers letter.

Join the movement and stand with our growing list of supporters by viewing the links below.

Sign On to Endorse CalAccount and our 2024 Endorsers Letter

View the Endorsers List


Support the Banking Revolution: Donate Today!

In 2019, the California Public Banking Alliance (CPBA) achieved a historic milestone with the passage of the California Public Banking Act (AB 857). Building on this success, our all-volunteer team and dedicated allies championed the California Public Banking Option Act (AB 1177) in 2021, which will make universal free banking services a reality.

Now, we’re focused on turning these groundbreaking legislations into tangible change. Our team is working tirelessly to establish local public banks across California and guide the CalAccount program to fruition.

Every dollar you donate is tax-deductible and directly supports our mission to open public bank doors and provide free banking services to all Californians. Your generosity will make a real difference in the lives of California communities.

Thank you for your support.

Donate Now

Read More
434195371_17997242186576012_1297448574543161094_n

Milestones in Motion: CPBA’s Spring 2024 Newsletter

Public Banking Advocates Travel to the Capitol

CPBA Advocacy Team: Julian LaRosa, Lovoy Mejia, Trinity Tran, Debbie Notkin, Sylvia Chi, Rick Girling, Goli Sahba, Brett Garrett, Doug MacPherson.


The California Public Banking Alliance Advocacy Team had an action-packed and productive day advocating for public banking in Sacramento. We conducted 20 meetings that we arranged in legislator’s offices and dropped-in on another 30 offices to provide updates on progress we have made with California's public banks and the CalAccount program.

Following the enactment of California’s public banking law, government agencies in five regions — California’s Central Coast, the East Bay, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Francisco — have allocated funding and resources to support the implementation of public banks. Advocates in these regions are working hard at developing business plans to set up city and regional public banks in accord with the California Public Banking Act.



NCRC Just Economy Conference and Federal Reserve Board

in Washington DC

California Public Banking Alliance at the NCRC Conference with Rise Economy.


CPBA lead organizer Trinity Tran traveled to Washington DC to meet with Congressional offices and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. She delivered an overview of the California Public Banking Act, updating the Federal Reserve Board on the progress of public bank development in California and discussing the upcoming groundbreaking applications from California’s local governments.

CPBA also attended the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) virtual meetings alongside Rise Economy, presenting updates on California's public banks to federal regulators.

Trinity presented at the NCRC Just Economy Conference in Washington DC on the panel "Banking on a Better Future: How Public Banking Can Transform the Financial Industry." The panel was attended by over 100 people, including NCRC non-profit members from across the country and representatives from Wall Street banks.


CalAccount Town Hall Report


Hundreds of CalAccount supporters took the time to passionately document the extreme hardships that working class Californians face due to the absence of affordable financial services. They arrived at three town halls convened in late February by the California Treasurer’s Office in Fresno, Oakland, and Los Angeles to gauge support for this innovative program to dramatically improve the lives of the unbanked and underbanked.

These town halls drew grassroots community leaders, business leaders, experts in financial services access, labor leaders, and workers. All testified to the overwhelming need for a state administered banking account with no-fees, no minimum balance and no overdraft penalties.

Facilitated by the CalAccount Executive Director, Cassandra DiBenedetto, town hall participants provided powerful testimony supporting the need for the program. Public participation is required to be included in the final report by RAND, the firm conducting the CalAccount Market Study for the Treasurer’s Office.

Once completed, the market study will return to the Legislature for approval. The CalAccount Community Coalition intends to introduce legislation to implement CalAccount in the 2025-26 session, making CalAccount the first state-administered universal banking program in the nation.

Visit the California Public Banking Alliance YouTube page to watch speaker clips from the town halls.

To watch the full video recordings of the CalAccount Town Halls, visit the CalAccount Blue Ribbon Commission page on the State Treasurer’s website.

Read our full report from the statewide CalAccount Town Halls:
https://capublicbanking.com/calaccount-2024-statewide-town-halls-event-wrap-up/

Oakland CalAccount Town Hall

Los Angeles CalAccount Town Hall



CPBA Spring 2024 Progress Report


Central Coast
The governing bodies of ten jurisdictions have approved resolutions in support of a viability study to create the bank, and officials from two other jurisdictions have expressed support for a viability study as well.

East Bay
The slate of bank board candidates has been finalized, and the consultant has completed the first draft of the business plan for the public bank. In November 2023, the Friends of Public Bank East Bay hired the veteran credit union executive Scott Waite as the public bank CEO. The Friends are currently negotiating with the three cities and the county regarding capitalization commitments. They have completed a full draft of the business plan and are working with local financial institutions on initial partnership discussions.

Los Angeles
Two prominent think tanks, the Jain Family Institute and the Berggruen Institute, issued a series of five reports and developed lending models for the LA Public Bank covering affordable housing, green energy, and small businesses. The Chief Legislative Analyst released an RFP to hire consultants for the public bank viability study and business plan. The Los Angeles City Council is currently overseeing an RFP process to evaluate the feasibility of the proposed Los Angeles Public Bank.  

Sacramento
In March 2023, the Sacramento City Council approved a budget request to fund consultants to develop plans for starting a non-depository financial institution, which will eventually transition into a public bank. An RFQ was released by the City in December 2023.

San Francisco
Plans for the green bank / municipal finance corporation (MFC) and public bank were unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors in June 2023. Currently, the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition is working with the Board of Supervisors, the Local Agency Formation Commission, and the office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector to implement the plans, including actively engaging with applicants to U.S. EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to seek federal funding available for capitalizing green banks.  

Read our detailed city and regional public banks progress report:
https://capublicbanking.com/cpba-city-regional-progress-report-april-2024/


California Public Banking Alliance

Advancing city and regional public banks in California.

Read More
CPBA Logo Cities

CPBA City/Regional Progress Report – Spring 2024

CPBA Spring Progress Report

 

CENTRAL COAST

People for Public Banking Central Coast is a coalition advocating for a regional public bank to encompass the counties of Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo, including the cities within those counties. The governing bodies of ten jurisdictions have approved resolutions in support of a viability study to create the bank, and officials from two other jurisdictions have expressed support for a viability study as well.

EAST BAY

Public Bank East Bay is a proposed regional public bank that will be jointly owned by Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, and Alameda County, and governed by a board consisting of representatives from each of these governmental agencies, as well as financial experts and community leaders. The bank will partner with local financial institutions to provide lending services for affordable housing, small businesses, and green energy. As of March 2023, the slate of bank board candidates has been finalized, and the consultant has completed the first draft of the business plan for the public bank. In November 2023, the Friends of Public Bank East Bay hired the veteran credit union executive Scott Waite as the public bank CEO. The Friends are currently negotiating with the three cities and the county regarding capitalization commitments. They have completed a full draft of the business plan and are working with local financial institutions on initial partnership discussions. They are also working with foundations to secure deposit commitments which will help collateralize public deposits and strengthen the Bank’s bottom line.

LOS ANGELES

Public Bank LA is led by labor groups, CDFIs, and affordable housing groups including SEIU 721, Inclusive Action, and ACCE LA. Two prominent think tanks, the Jain Family Institute and the Berggruen Institute, issued a series of five reports and developed lending models for the LA Public Bank covering affordable housing, green energy, and small businesses. These reports show the bank’s profitability while enabling the creation of over 17,000 affordable units during the first decade of operation. It could substantially reduce costs for the LADWP, the city’s municipal-owned utility, and support large-scale renewable energy projects. The lending models demonstrate that the LA Public Bank not only generates a profit for LA taxpayers but also supports small businesses, including facilitating their transition into worker ownership. The Chief Legislative Analyst released an RFP to hire consultants for the public bank viability study and business plan in September 2022. In June 2023, the City Council voted unanimously to approve funding Phase 1 of the LA Public Bank feasibility study and business plan. The Los Angeles City Council is currently overseeing an RFP process to evaluate the feasibility of the proposed Los Angeles Public Bank.  

SACRAMENTO

Public Bank Sacramento was founded in 2022 and led by the Climate Coalition of Sacramento and the Sacramento Area Congregations Together (SacACT), a coalition of nearly 100 community groups, congregations, and environmental justice organizations. Elected officials including the city treasurer are supportive of the initiative. In March 2023, the Sacramento City Council approved a budget request to fund consultants to develop plans for starting a non-depository financial institution, which will eventually transition into a public bank. An RFQ was released by the City in December 2023. 


SAN FRANCISCO

The San Francisco Public Bank Coalition is a community-led coalition including Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, Council of Community Housing Organizations, and PODER. The SF Board of Supervisors passed the Reinvest in San Francisco Ordinance in June 2021, which initiated a year-long process of creating business plans for an interim green bank, which will later transition into a public bank. The city hired HR&A Advisors as consultants to co-create these plans with representatives from the city, local communities and small businesses, credit unions, and Community Development Financial Institutions. The primary goal of the public bank is to fund affordable housing, small business support, and climate justice projects in partnership with community financial institutions. Plans for the green bank and public bank were unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors in June 2023. Currently, the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition is working with the Board of Supervisors, the Local Agency Formation Commission, and the office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector to implement the plans, including actively engaging with applicants to U.S. EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to seek federal funding available for capitalizing green banks.

Read More
unnamed-4

Event Wrap-Up – CalAccount Statewide Town Halls

CalAccount February 2024 Town Hall Report

Hundreds of CalAccount supporters took the time to passionately document the extreme hardships that working class Californians face due to the absence of affordable financial services. They arrived at three town halls convened in late February by the California Treasurer’s Office in Fresno, Oakland, and Los Angeles to gauge support for this innovative solution that will dramatically improve the lives of the unbanked and underbanked. 

These town halls drew grassroots community leaders, business leaders, experts in financial services access, labor leaders, and workers. All testified to the overwhelming need for a no-fee, no minimum balance, no overdraft fee account overseen by the State of California.

Facilitated by the CalAccount Executive Director, Cassandra DiBenedetto, town hall participants provided powerful testimony supporting the need for the program. Public participation is required to be included in the final report by RAND, the firm conducting the CalAccount Market Study for the Treasurer’s Office.  

Visit the California Public Banking Alliance YouTube page to view video clips from the town halls. 

To watch the full video recordings of the CalAccount Town Halls, visit the CalAccount Blue Ribbon Commission page on the State Treasurer’s website.

FRESNO

.   

The first town hall kicked off in Fresno, where numerous Central Valley leaders addressed issues such as access to banking services, banking deserts, and the high fees faced by Latino, African-American, and Native American constituents.

David Mendoza, Project Director, Fresno Native American and Business Development Center. “Native communities have the highest percent of being unbanked, between 16 and 22%!  I wholeheartedly support CalAccount and hope to collaborate further to make this program a reality.”

Maria Maldonado, Statewide Director for California Fast Food Workers Union:  “Most checking accounts require either a monthly fee or a minimum balance, or both.  What do you think the average minimum balance is to avoid paying a fee? About $500, a little more than the $450 that is the average paycheck fast food workers earn in a week.“ 

Other leaders who spoke in Fresno: 

Samuel Molina, CEO and Founder of The Academy of Financial Education;  
Eric Payne, Executive Director of Central Valley Urban Institute;
Aliyah Shaheed, Bay Area Organizer of Rise Economy.

OAKLAND

     

In Oakland, community leaders, financial access experts, and workers voiced their support for CalAccount, emphasizing its viability and the urgent need for the program.  

Theresa Rutherford, President, SEIU 1021, and member, Executive Board, SEIU International: “Our aim and our goal is to make sure all workers can access good benefits. CalAccount creates access and generational wealth. We know banking is important to any worker being able to move forward in their day-to-day lives. I have co-workers who are not able to do basic things like rent a car, stay at a hotel, or even buy gas.” 

Dr. Nari Rhee, Director, Retirement Security, Berkeley Labor Center: “California has several examples of successful financial service programs where the state stepped in to meet a need that wasn’t being served by the market…

These programs deliver value to workers and consumers in three ways: First, they fulfill an unmet need that the private market either isn’t interested in serving or doesn’t serve very well. Second, they bundle together a large number of consumers, which means stronger bargaining power with financial institutions than we have as individual consumers. Third, they combine private administration with public oversight. All of this means a higher quality product at a lower cost.”

Varun Gupta, Chief Financial Officer, MoCaFi:  “This is a great initiative. We have worked with San Diego, LA, and other communities to make financial products more accessible. The most critical factor for the financially vulnerable unbanked and underbanked is a lack of access. This could change the lives of people and bring them financial stability.  Imagine the psychological benefit of not having to look over your shoulder because you are carrying cash. It’s an upside-down system where poor people are paying all the fees and people like me are getting all the benefits.  

Wesley Alexander, CEO of CoBiz Richmond, a business incubator for students, small business owners, and new immigrants in Richmond California: “During COVID, hundreds of businesses closed because they did not have a bank account or financial history or a relationship with a bank. This is a very, very important endeavor for people to have access. Just because you are unbanked does not mean you are untalented or can’t be a good citizen in your community.” 

Sylvia Chi, Senior Policy Analyst and Attorney, Just Solutions, SF Public Bank Coalition, California Public Banking Alliance: “Folks may have heard the federal government is proposing rules to limit overdraft fees. Banks are resisting the proposed rule, and are likely to litigate against it. In the past, when one type of fee is limited, they come up with a new type of fee. When Congress imposed limits on swipe fees on debit cards in 2010, banks increased monthly maintenance fees… In conclusion, Californians need what CalAccount offers, a fee-free way to access their money and a guarantee it will stay fee-free.”  

Rick Girling, retired public school teacher, SF Public Bank Coalition, Communications Director, California Public Banking Alliance: “I recently was charged a $35 overdraft fee. I had the money in my account and was pissed, but for those who live paycheck to paycheck, a $35 fee is devastating.” 

Other speakers in Oakland included: 

Emily DiVito, Deputy Director, Corporate Power, Roosevelt Institute; 
Brandon Dawkins, VP of Organizing, SEIU 1021; 
Jennifer Esteen, Board co-chair, Public Bank of East Bay;
Brandon Greene, Policy Director, Western Center on Law and Poverty;
Loraina Flores-Martinez, Associate Director of Partnerships, MyPath;
Noel Knowles, MyPath; 
Stacy Pourfallah, Financial Specialist, International Rescue Committee.

Workers and Community members:

Guillermina Calvo, Josefina Ramos, Claudia Romero, Romualda Alcazar, Dulce Escalante, Guadalupe Sanchez, Julisa Villa, Dilia España, Samantha Alamo, Beatriz Avila, Massiel Picado

LOS ANGELES

The third and final town hall wrapped up in Los Angeles on February 23, where community leaders, labor leaders, immigrant advocates, anti-poverty organizers, academics, and workers spoke about their experiences with unfair banking practices. The speakers stressed the need for a state-run bank account free from charges or penalties.

David Green, President and Executive Director, SEIU 721: “As a social worker, LA County Child and Family Services, I met dozens if not hundreds of Californians who lack access to affordable financial services. The state can remove an unnecessary roadblock to communities that have borne the brunt of being excluded from the financial system. With CalAccount our state will emerge stronger and more inclusive than ever before.”

Toya Vick, peer Support Specialist and Organizer, Participatory Defense of the Inland Empire: “I am here representing the underserved communities of formerly incarcerated individuals, seniors, and children. This will help integration of formerly incarcerated individuals into society. They often lack traditional IDs needed to open a bank account or establish a line of credit. Banks don’t accept incarceration IDs. When they are able to open accounts they are hit with maintenance fees, overdraft fees, or other junk fees, causing them to have to close their accounts, miss paying bills, and further destabilize their lives.. When they have to go to an ATM outside their network, they have to pay fees of $3.50 up to $8.00 for each transaction.”

Elba Serrano, East LA Community Foundation: “We work with low-income immigrants, and they have a lot of stressful experiences with banks. They are charged fees or have accounts closed and be listed in Chex Systems, making it harder to open another account. I have been to the bank on payday and seen people waiting in line for hours to talk with the one banker who speaks Spanish, letting other people go in front of them.  We work with street vendors, Mariachis, they operate in cash, they are vulnerable, they get robbed, and they lose out on business because they can’t accept Zelle.”

Andy Winnick, Professor of Economics and Statistics, CSU-Los Angeles (retired): “If people don’t have a bank account, they have a problem. They have to pay in cash or pay 8-10-12% of money for a check. They face safety issues and the time-mismatch of getting paid weekly, but paying bills monthly; how can they keep their money safe until they can pay bills?  They also face problems with discrimination. We have many studies that show black, Latino, also single mothers who are discriminated against in the banking system. During COVID, we wanted to send benefit checks. Middle class, most white people got money deposited directly into their accounts. We tried to get checks to other people, but without bank accounts, they had no way to cash them without losing 8-12% off the top. 50,000 people in the LA area are unhoused, and very vulnerable to safety issues if they don’t have a bank account.  CalAccount could help people save more money, could actually reduce homelessness.”

Trinity Tran, Co-Founder, Public Bank LA, California Public Banking Alliance: “When people are able to hold onto their money instead of spending it on expensive fees and interest chargesthis boosts the economy. CalAccount would free up funds for low-income households to spend on goods and services, stimulating economic activity, and leading to job creation across various sectors. A 2021 study by HR&A Advisors pointed to exactly that. They found that by redirecting spending away from bank interest and fees, keeping hard-earned dollars in the pockets of Californians, the CalAccount program would serve 3.5 million individual workers in California resulting in $3.3 billion in savings for low-income households, creating 22,000 jobs and boosting the California economy by over $4 billion. Financial inclusion will add billions to strengthen California’s economy.” 

Other leaders who spoke in Los Angeles included: 

Luz Castro, Associate Director of Policy, Inclusive Action for the City;
Eunbi Kim, Community Bank Fraud Prevention Analyst;
Jay Miller, Lead, Inland SoCal BankOn Coalition;
Beverly Roberts, Co-Chair Home Defenders League, ACCE Los Angeles;
Javier Sarmiento, Co-chair Home Defenders League, ACCE Los Angeles;
Jasmine, Base Builder;
Doni Tadesse, Southern California Organizer, Rise Economy;
Julia Ornelas, Program Manager, Rise Economy;
Lovoy Mejia, Entrepreneur, Public Bank LA;
Erika Toriz-Kurkjian, Founder, Executive Director, Haven Neighborhood Services;
Emily Dibiny, Ground Game LA.

Workers and Community members:

Sabina Gutierrez, Jose Loubert; Yolanda Lopez; Angelica Hernandez; Felicitas Ortega; Marta Flores, Mysheka Ronquillo; Patricia Meza; Vicenta Diaz; Laura Salceda; Imelda Padilla; and
Manuela Saldana.

Read More
431328128_428423383033537_2108947606589234025_n

CalAccount LA Town Hall Featured in La Opinión

CalAccount was featured in La Opinión, the US’s largest Spanish-language paper. Fast food workers and community leaders gathered at the CalAccount Town Hall in Los Angeles. They shared experiences with unfair banking practices and spoke to the critical need for universal banking access in CA.

Read the coverage in La Opinión: Revolución bancaria en favor de los más vulnerables (Banking revolution for the most vulnerable).

Article excerpt: Trinity Tran, co-founder of Public Bank LA/CA Public Banking Alliance stated that, to achieve the enactment of the California Public Banking Choice Act (AB 1177), also known as CalAccount, they worked with the Council State of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Rise Economy, in addition to the support of community groups throughout the state.

The bill created the CalAccount Blue Ribbon Commission, which was formed in September 2022. The commission is responsible for overseeing consultants to complete a market analysis of the CalAccount program, through which the feasibility, need and costs of implementing the CalAccount program.

“That report is already underway, which is why it’s so important to hear people’s stories about unfair banking practices and the harmful impact the current banking system has on communities and working families in Los Angeles [and across the state ],” Tran said.

Testimonials from banking users will help build the case for why it is crucial for California to create the CalAccount banking program and provide free essential banking services to all Californians, regardless of their financial or immigration status.

“This is a historic effort to create the first nationwide state program for universal banking services,” said Trinity Tran.

Trinity Tran, cofundadora de Public Bank LA/CA Public Banking Alliance declaró que, para lograr la promulgación de la Ley de Opción de Banca Pública de California (AB 1177), también conocida como CalAccount, trabajaron con el Consejo Estatal del Sindicato Internacional de Empelados de Servicios (SEIU), Rise Economy, además de contar el apoyo de grupos comunitarios de todo el estado.

El proyecto de ley creó la Comisión Blue Ribbon de CalAccount, que se formó en septiembre de 2022. Dicha comisión es responsable de supervisar a los consultores, para completar un análisis de mercado del programa CalAccount, a través del cual se evaluará la viabilidad, la necesidad y los costos de implementar el programa CalAccount.

“Ese informe ya está en marcha, por lo que es tan importante escuchar las historias de la gente sobre las prácticas bancarias injustas y el impacto dañino que el sistema bancario actual tiene en las comunidades y familias trabajadoras de Los Ángeles [y de todo el estado]”, dijo Tran.

Los testimonios de los usuarios del sistema bancario ayudarán a desarrollar el caso sobre el por qué es crucial que California cree el programa bancario CalAccount y brinde servicios bancarios esenciales gratuitos para todos los californianos, independientemente de su situación financiera o migratoria.

“Este es un esfuerzo histórico para crear el primer programa estatal a nivel nacional para servicios bancarios universales”, precisó Trinity Tran.

Read More
1

CalAccount 2024 State Treasurer Town Halls

 

Join the movement for free banking in California! The State Treasurer’s Office is hosting Town Halls to address the financial services gap affecting low-income Californians. Your voice matters!

FRESNO: Tuesday, Feb 20, 1:00 pm High Burns State Building 2550 Mariposa Mall, Fresno, CA 93721 – Event Flyer 

OAKLAND: Thursday, Feb 22, 1:00 pm Elihu M Harris State Building 1515 Clay Street, Oakland, CA 94612 – Event Flyer

LOS ANGELES: Friday, Feb 23, 1:00 pm Department of Financial Protection and Innovation 320 W 4th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013 – Event Flyer

Background:  One in four Californians are unbanked or underbanked, meaning they lack access to basic financial services, like checking and savings accounts, that are essential to financial stability. In 2021, California took an important step to ensure that all residents have access to free basic banking services with the passage of AB 1177 which created the CalAccount Blue Ribbon Commission. The Commission and Treasurer’s Office are now tasked with conducting an analysis and the best way to implement the CalAccount program, a fee and penalty-free financial services program. For more information on the CalAccount program and the hundreds of community and labor organizations united to make it a reality, please visit calaccount.com.

Join us to provide testimony and help demonstrate the need for a fee- and penalty-free option for all Californians, regardless of their financial or immigration status. Share your experiences and make a difference!

Don’t miss this opportunity to help close the financial access gap. We look forward to your participation in bringing free banking to all Californians.

Read More
Screen-Shot-2024-01-17-at-2.33.01-PM-1170×650 (1)

A Banker’s Case for Public Banking

NONPROFIT QUARTERLY – Today, more public banks are being launched and planned. For example, Public Bank Los Angeles (PBLA) was established as a socially and environmentally responsible municipal bank for the City of Los Angeles. PBLA also helped pass AB 1177, the California Public Banking Option Act, known as CalAccount, under which free and penalty-free debit cards will be offered to all Californians, providing basic financial services such as check cashing, deposits, and bill paying.

PBLA states that its goal is “to provide affordable financial services and promote economic growth in California by providing greater access to financial services for Californians, particularly unbanked and underbanked populations.” In addition, PBLA and the California Public Banking Alliance (CPBA) advised Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on the 2023 reintroduction of the Public Banking Act, a federal bill that aims to facilitate the establishment of public banks by states and local governments.

A Banker’s Case for Public Banking

For over 20 years, I have explored how to change financial systems in the United States to promote greater equity and inclusion. This has led me to the conclusion that if we want to close the racial wealth gap, we need to get serious about public banking.

Public banks, owned by state and local governments, are driven by a community-serving mission, Currently, financial systems favor White-owned firms and disfavor firms that are owned by people of color, limiting the wealth-building opportunities available to them. Public banking could help change these dynamics.

Why a Banker Became a Public Banking Advocate

How did I come to adopt this position? If you had asked me 20 years ago about public finance, I doubt I could have told you what a public bank was. My journey began far from the financial world. Eventually, I moved from the nonprofit sector to corporate America, working with business leaders who wanted to be more inclusive, and started a business accelerator helping over 30 Black entrepreneurs start businesses, many of which are still thriving over a decade later.

Working with private business, I decided to follow the power and money, and started a consultancy working with financial institutions to change systems within banking. After working with many banks over the years, Berkshire Bank brought me into the bank as a C-suite executive and regional president. This experience helped shape how I understand our economy and why it’s so important for the mainstream banking industry to flow more responsible capital to people of color.

How Finance Currently Reproduces the Racial Wealth Gap

The racial wealth gap is as entrenched as ever—a chasm of earnings power, savings, and investment that threatens to leave behind another generation of Black and Latinx households. According to an analysis by the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors staff, the average household of color earns about half as much as the average White household and holds only about 15 to 20 percent as much net wealth. An index known as the Gini coefficient—ranging from 0 (representing perfect equality) to 1 (total inequality)—shows a stark contrast.

Continue reading on NonProfit Quarterly.

Read More