Category: California Public Banking Alliance

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
Screen Shot 2024-05-07 at 9.52.45 PM

Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez Introduce Public Banking Act

Thanks to Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez all our coalition partners across the country that helped craft this transformative bill! For too long, Wall Street has failed to meet the moment, pursuing profits over people’s needs. This allows us to finally build a sustainable alternative.

In California, we passed the CA Public Banking Act, AB 857, which established a regulatory structure to legalize and guide the efforts of municipalities and regions throughout the state. The federal Public Banking Act will build on and expand that framework nationally to aid efforts across the nation.

WASHINGTON D.C.  Today, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-12) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) introduced the Public Banking Act of 2023, which facilitates the creation of state and local public banks. The bill establishes a robust federal regulatory framework, grant programs, and financial infrastructure to promote public banks and ensure their success. The bill also mandates minimum standards for public banks relating to environmental justice, tenant protections, labor standards, democratic governance, and consumer data privacy.

“Wall Street-run banks are failing to serve many of my residents who are struggling to make ends meet,” said Congresswoman Tlaib. “It’s long past time to open doors for people who have been systematically shut out. We must provide a better option for those grappling with the costs of simply trying to participate in an economy that has been rigged against them with discriminatory and predatory practices. We need a financial system that is democratically accountable and puts the livelihoods of our residents ahead of private profits.”

“The Public Banking Act provides much needed federal recognition and guidance for public banks,” said Trinity Tran, Lead Organizer for the California Public Banking Alliance. “Public banking is key to unlocking economic transformation for communities often overlooked or exploited by our current financial system, charting a path for cities and states to build a sustainable future that prioritizes environmental justice, tenant protections, democratic governance, and strong labor and workers’ rights.”

Read the press release: https://tlaib.house.gov/posts/tlaib-ocasio-cortez-introduce-public-banking-act.

Read More
newvideo

Introducing Our New Video: Unlocking the Power of Public Banking!

Introducing Our New Video: Unlocking the Power of Public Banking!

We’re excited to share a new video that will shape the future of your community and pave the way for economic prosperity. As passionate advocates in this ongoing journey, our latest explainer video shows the transformative potential of public banks and how they prioritize people over profits and drive community-focused projects. It’s a big step forward in our ongoing quest to champion public banking for a future that’s all about fairness and growth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HooU2qC4qxo&lc=Ugznmmq3S69TCfTae9x4AaABAg

Unlocking the Power of Public Banking: Public banks are a financially secure solution, dedicated to funding critical community projects like local revitalization efforts, transit systems, green infrastructure, and affordable housing. Unlike traditional banks, public banks channel banking revenue back into our communities, not shareholder profits.

Your Community, Your Choice: The democratic essence of public banks will empower us to define our community’s future and needs, as these banks operate as public utilities rather than profit-driven entities. Community members have a say in what gets funded, impacting everything from school improvements to renewable energy projects.

Supporting Sustainability and Resilience: Public bank loans are pivotal in advancing climate justice by reducing costs associated with energy-efficient housing and sustainable transportation. By partnering with community banks and credit unions, public banks level the playing field against Wall Street megabanks, supporting local small business growth.

Financial First Responders in Tough Times: In times of crisis, public banks emerge as financial first responders, swiftly financing reconstruction efforts after disasters. These public servants understand their community’s unique needs, ensuring a faster recovery and a resilient future

Read More
newsletter

August 2023 Newsletter: Momentum Builds for Public Banking in California!

City and Regional Reports from the
California Public Banking Alliance

We’re making significant headway in public banking, with various local governments across California showing their commitment by providing funding for public bank viability studies and business plans. These efforts are aimed at outlining the implementation path for the establishment of local public banks in their respective areas.

Read our press in Next City: Public Banking Efforts Are Gaining Momentum And Clarity In California. From Los Angeles to the Central Coast, from San Francisco to the East Bay and Sacramento, major public banking plans are emerging from California cities.

Also, be on the lookout for our new video introduction to public banking! We’ll share the link to “You Can Public Bank on That” soon!

CENTRAL COAST

People for Public Banking Central Coast has been advocating since 2019 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. Currently, 12 jurisdictions have formally expressed interest in participating in a viability study to create the bank, including Santa Barbara County which has pledged $25,000 toward the study.

A possible first step will be to create a municipal finance corporation or green bank which could be called the Central Coast People’s Fund. We continue to focus on education and outreach, especially to city managers and finance directors. We also hope to educate large numbers of citizens on the benefits of public bank financing for projects like affordable housing and disaster mitigation.

EAST BAY

Public Bank East Bay is planning a suite of announcements of important milestones in mid-September. While we prepare those announcements, we (including our slate of Bank Board candidates) are very busy refining our draft business plan and charter application, collaborating closely with Alameda County and the three cities of Berkeley, Oakland, and Richmond so they will be ready to sign that application and contribute capital to the bank, and providing comprehensive training for our Bank Board candidates. We’re actively reaching out to local financial institutions as potential partners under AB 857 and are thrilled to announce recent foundation grants of $300,000 from the Irvine Foundation and an additional $150,000 grant (to be shared with Rise Economy). These grants will greatly support our research and outreach efforts for public banking.

LOS ANGELES

In June 2023, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved $460,000 to fund Phase 1 of the public bank feasibility study and business plan. Public Bank LA is collaborating with coalition leaders including SEIU 721 to secure an additional $240,000 to support Phase 2. Public Bank LA is also engaging LA County Supervisors working alongside Move LA and Destination Crenshaw on the LA County Regional Public Bank in an effort that runs parallel to the LA City Public Bank.

The Jain Family Institute and the Berggruen Institute released the full LA public bank report series including five extensive briefings covering: a series introduction, affordable housing, democratic frameworks, clean energy portfolio options, interactive balance sheet simulator, and financial justice portfolio options. The 160-page report series provides the most comprehensive analysis of a public bank within the movement to date.

Recent LA coverage:
Los Angeles Times
California Globe
CBS News


POMONA VALLEY

In addition to a presentation at a local Rotary Club and University Club, Public Bank Pomona Valley’s leadership met with Public Banking Institute founder, Ellen Brown, to discuss the history and national prospects of the movement. We plan to meet soon with the Claremont Democratic Club as well as a gathering organized by the Human Values Institute, which is working with several groups promoting economic well-being in the Pomona region.

The Public Bank Pomona Valley advocacy group includes several current and former elected officials in city government, as well as community leaders of nonprofits and foundations promoting economic justice issues. While grassroots education is our primary task for now, we are ready to urge our Pomona Valley cities to begin developing their banking business plan when the time is right.

SACRAMENTO

A unanimous vote from the Banking and Audit Committee of the City Council of Sacramento was obtained this past spring authorizing up to $250,000 for a viability study and business plan for a Public Bank. The Committee is made up of the Mayor of Sacramento as well as 3 council members. City staff in the office of the Treasurer of Sacramento are now working on a draft RFP for a Viability Study with support from the Sacramento Public Bank Working Group. The Sacramento Public Bank Working Group continues to educate the public on the advantages of a Public Bank and has met with the City Treasurer and Banking Manager.

SAN FRANCISCO

The SF Public Bank Coalition (SFPBC) is mobilizing supporters for the presentation of the Reinvest In SF Working Group public banking plan to the Board of Supervisors on September 5, 2023. SF Public Bank is also working to establish a “Green Bank” to gain access to Greenhouse Gas Reduction funds.

On August 31, SF Public Bank will have its first general membership meeting open to all interested in joining our coalition. We presented to the Loma Prieta Sierra Club which sees public banking in the Peninsula and Silicon Valley as a means of financing innovative climate crisis interventions. We are hoping this helps reinvigorate the South Bay chapter of the California Public Banking Alliance.

Recent SF coverage:
Westside Observer
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Examiner

 

CALIFORNIA REGIONS

In regions across California, including Pomona Valley and North Coast, our CA Public Banking Alliance teams continue to dedicate themselves to community education and engagement.

We are actively reaching out to public banking advocates in regions that have not yet established CPBA chapters. If you are interested in learning more about getting public banking started in your area, or know someone who might be, please contact our outreach coordinator, David Cobb at davidkcobb@gmail.com. Below is a list of areas we are especially hoping to form chapters of public bank supporters.

BAKERSFIELD
FRESNO
HUMBOLDT / NORTH COAST
RIVERSIDE / SAN BERNARDINO
SAN DIEGO
SANTA ROSA / SONOMA COUNTY
SOUTH BAY / SILICON VALLEY
STOCKTON / MODESTO

CALACCOUNT

Our universal banking program, CalAccount (AB 1177), is an ongoing initiative of the CPBA. Along with coalition partners SEIU California and Rise Economy, we’re tracking the progress of the CalAccount program in the monthly hearings for community representation on the CalAccount advisory board and ensuring the program’s successful implementation. Establishing positive relationships with regulatory authorities is vital; we’re actively building partnerships with the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation agency (DFPI), including DFPI Commissioner Cloey Hewlett.

CalAccount Community Coalition in Sacramento

People power in Sacramento! Fight for $15 and KIWA, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance workers turned out in support of CalAccount, urging the State Treasurer Fiona Ma and Commissioners to incorporate community input, a crucial step to ensure the program’s success and provide essential banking services for nearly 10 million low-wage Californians.

Read the CalAccount August Legislative Briefing.

FEDERAL PUBLIC BANKING ACT

The CPBA is currently advising Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s office, providing insights for the amendments in preparation for the federal Public Banking Act‘s reintroduction, anticipated in the coming months, spearheaded by Representatives Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez.

Read More
sfpublic

Proposed S.F. public bank gets first review by supervisors

The San Francisco Chronicle discusses the proposal to create the nation’s first municipal public bank in San Francisco to address the city’s housing crisis and economic challenges. Modeled after the Bank of North Dakota, the plan aims to fund housing projects for low- and middle-wage workers, support small business recovery, and promote a carbon-neutral future. The bank would partner with private banks rather than compete with them, generating funds that enable community banks to provide financing at lower interest rates. The benefits of a public bank include facilitating affordable housing and jump-starting small businesses. The article quotes Sylvia Chi, the Alliance’s Legislative Co-Director and member of the San Francisco Public Banking Working Group: “If we’re going to redevelop the Westfield Mall into something, they should use green building techniques and make sure it’s as efficient and sustainable as possible,” Chi said.” Although the bank’s cash reserves would be modest at first, it could grow to channel significant funds into community initiatives over the next decade. The proposal has been sent to the Board of Supervisors for examination and approval, and it aligns with California’s authorization for cities to explore public banking. The Bank of North Dakota’s success and impact on various sectors provide insights into how a public bank could benefit San Francisco.

Read the article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Read More
upsanddowns

After years of ups and downs, Los Angeles moves forward on creation of a public bank.

The Los Angeles City Council has voted to fund the first phase of a public bank that would empower communities and support projects driven by public interest. A public bank would be more beneficial than private banks in serving Los Angeles’ Black and Latino communities, small businesses, green energy initiatives, and affordable housing projects. To tackle our housing crisis, the LA public bank could build or preserve over 17,000 affordable housing units within 10 years, assist with construction loans, convert housing into affordable stock, provide mortgage assistance, and prevent the conversion of affordable housing into upscale homes. Low-income communities of color stand to benefit greatly from a public bank, as it would offer lower-cost debt, free banking, alternative credit scoring methods, and help employees purchase small businesses. It’s a chance to create targeted wealth and job stability for neglected communities. The LA public bank would be funded by deposits from the city, pension funds, and green mutual funds, bypassing expensive Wall Street middlemen. This means more direct access to funds for local government projects. The LA Times interviews key figures, discussing the far-reaching impact of the public bank on communities across Los Angeles, including CPBA and PBLA co-founder Trinity Tran.

Read the coverage in the LA Times.

Read More
bankingefforts

Public Banking Efforts Are Gaining Momentum And Clarity In California

California cities, from Los Angeles to San Francisco to the East Bay, are moving full steam ahead on public banking! LA recently approved funding for Phase 1 to plan and implement Public Bank Los Angeles, SF Public Bank is working to fund a Municipal Finance Corporation that will scale up to a public bank, and Public Bank East Bay is making moves on a business plan for a regional public bank. California leads the way in the movement to reclaim public funds from Wall Street banks and reinvest them in local communities.

Read the article on Next City.

Read More
transecding

Transcending Finance with Public Banking

Trinity Tran’s article, “Transcending Finance with Public Banking,” part of the Institute for the Future’s “Imagining Equity: Explorations into the Future of Enterprise” series, discusses the public banking movement’s goal to address longstanding issues in the financial system, including fraudulent activities by big banks like Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase. Instead of relying on big banks, cities and states are turning to public banks to invest in their communities, with California passing legislation allowing for the creation of city and regional public banks. Public banks prioritize community needs, such as affordable housing, clean energy, and public transit, while also offering cost savings to taxpayers and expanding banking services for those with limited options. With several California cities and counties exploring the creation of their own banks and federal legislation in the works, the public banking movement is gaining momentum. Building a network of public banks at the local and state levels can help create a more equitable financial system.

Read the essay on IFTF.

Read on Medium.

Read More
bailouts

Bank Bailouts, Again! Time to get the SF Public Bank Up and Running

The Alliance’s Rick Girling penned an op-ed discussing the banking system’s shortcomings following Silicon Valley and Signature Banks’ collapse. Advocates propose public banks to offer fair services and break the cycle of bank failures and bailouts.

Read the article on El Tecolote
Artwork: Mural Doctor

Read More