The Friends of the Public Bank East Bay is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and advocating for the formation of a public bank for Northern California’s East Bay region. We are committed to starting a bank with core values and key personnel who will create and grow the bank we want to see.

Public Bank East Bay will invest public financial resources of participating jurisdictions to meet the needs of local communities. The Bank will seek to return a profit to its stakeholders by making commercially viable, economically sustainable loans and providing a high level of service to its depositors, customers, and partners. It will adhere to the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), and will prioritize environmentally regenerative and culturally equitable practices that reverse discrimination against members of marginalized communities.

2022 Campaign Updates:

The East Bay Viability Study was approved by Richmond in April 2022, and is likely to be approved by Berkeley and Oakland in September. There have been fundraising efforts by SF Foundation and East Bay Community Foundation who hosted two “convenings” including an introduction to public banking from David Chiu and Eric Hardmeyer—the recording is available here. Gary Findley, the East Bay consultant, has vetted most of the bank board candidates and is working on the business plan.

Read and Download: East Bay Viability Study

2020-2021 Campaign Updates:

The summer of 2020 was punctuated by national uprisings for the defense of Black lives. In solidarity with social, environmental, and economic justice, the Friends of the Public Bank East Bay continue to be active members in the solidarity economy network, refocusing on local outreach to educate the public on the mutual benefits of public banking. We acknowledge the lack of accurate and digestible information around public banking and are working tirelessly to find and create shareable content because knowledge is power.

2020 also brought Oakland a new city council with fresh support for public banking. We are working diligently to schedule meetings with electeds and staff to garner the necessary municipal support and commitment to launch the East Bay Public Bank.

We hired Gary Findley as our banking consultant and attorney to develop the initial stages of our business plan. A meeting with Gary and stakeholders in November was incredibly fruitful.

Also in November Margaret O’Brien, acting finance director for Oakland, prepared a thorough historical context and justification for the disbursement of $30,000 to the Friends (funds left over from the 2018 feasibility study process), which passed the Oakland City Council on the consent calendar.

We held two organizational retreats (virtually!) to restructure our growing group and strategize 2021 for maximum efficiency. Our resulting timeline and action items are ambitious and energizing.

We are fervently recruiting for our interim board of directors, CEO, and new volunteers to align with our mission of meeting the needs of our community. Be on the lookout for our social media and email campaigns!

2018-2019 Campaign Updates:
Our feasibility study was paid for by the cities of Oakland, Richmond, and Berkeley, and the County of Alameda. It has been turned in to the Oakland city staff in draft form, and is going through a review by the staffs and city councils of the three cities, the Treasurer and Board of Supervisors of the County. We expect the final version to be released through the Oakland City Council process (Rules Committee, then Finance Committee, then the full Council) sometime in May, and it will become public as soon as that process starts. In the process of getting the feasibility study authorized, we collected a list of over 50 supporting local organizations who signed a letter to the City Council, and 1,800 individual petition signatures.

We have also just completed a comprehensive report on how we intend to structure the bank governance, which we believe is the first community-centric bank governance proposal in the country.

December 2018: Friends of the Public Bank of Oakland is in the process of changing our name to Public Bank East Bay. The change comes about because our next step is a robust and complete business plan for the Public Bank of the East Bay. Since we have already received monetary contributions from the cities of Berkeley and Richmond (as well as Oakland) and the County of Alameda, we are well-poised to move forward as a larger region. The Treasurer of Alameda County has indicated his interest in supervising the process, and we are working on raising the necessary funds. We are also continuing our program of local outreach to organizations and individuals.

Legislative Resources: Governance Structure for the Public Bank of Oakland

Public Bank East Bay Press:

YES! Magazine – California Just Legalized Public Banks. Will the Rest of the Nation Follow Suit?
North Bay Business Journal – New California law allows local governments to form banks