Public Bank Los Angeles

Our money. Our values. Our bank.

Public Bank LA is a grassroots advocacy organization, founded in 2017, dedicated to creating a socially and environmentally responsible public bank for Los Angeles. Our mission is to advance local economic growth and offer fair and equitable financial services to the city’s businesses and residents. In 2018, we spearheaded the Measure B campaign, a City of Los Angeles ballot initiative, and the nation’s first voter referendum to establish a municipal bank. In the following years, we collaborated with the California Public Banking Alliance team to pass two historic public banking laws in California, aligning with our mission of promoting responsible banking practices.

2023 Campaign Updates:

LA City Council is facilitating the RFP process, assigning consultants to evaluate the viability and create bank models for the Los Angeles public bank. The Berggruen Institute and Jain Family Institute are crafting models for the LA public bank’s lending initiatives in areas including affordable housing, green energy, small businesses, governance, and financial justice. The comprehensive Berggruen and JFI Los Angeles public bank report is anticipated to be completed in Q2/2023.

The Los Angeles City Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA) released a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking consultants in September 2022 to author a feasibility study and business plan for a proposed Los Angeles public bank. This RFP issuance represents the culmination of a historic effort to realign the city’s financial infrastructure with its values and the pressing needs of its nearly four million residents. Once complete, this plan will outline the next steps for Los Angeles to establish a public bank via a state-issued charter.

Get involved with the Public Bank LA team and stay informed about upcoming events and developments in the movement.


For any inquiries please email

2021 Campaign Updates:

Following Governor Newsom’s signature on AB 857, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson introduced a motion for an RFQ to hire a consultant for the public bank business plan. The motion was presented to the full council and on December 4, 2019, LA City Council approved the motion, voting to move forward with the process to hire a consultant. Approval of this motion now green-lights the Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA)’s next steps: drafting the scope and structure of the RFQ. The CLA was also instructed to report back on the cost of the consultant.

As of February 2021, Public Bank LA is working with LA City Council to move the RFQ motion forward in the Economic Development and Jobs Committee. PBLA is simultaneously organizing in three areas: 1) the city-owned LA Public Bank, 2) the upcoming AB 310 bill to create the CA State Public Bank, and 3) the Public Banking Act, federal legislation to be re-introduced in April 2021 by Congresswomen AOC and Tlaib.

On February 23, 2021 Public Bank LA will hold a virtual town hall meeting with LA City Councilmember Mike Bonin, Councilmember Kevin de Leon, Councilmember Nithya Raman, and allied organizations including United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 770, ACCE Action, SoCal 350 Climate Action, Indivisible Green Team, Indivisible CA: StateStrong, and Fossil Free CA.

Town Hall Zoom registration link.

Public Bank LA is working on a pro forma model for both the Los Angeles city-owned bank and a regional approach model. In addition, The Democracy Collaborative is conducting a research project that will (1) co-develop the Public Bank of Los Angeles’ governance and capitalization strategy, (2) analyze the benefits of the bank for the city and county’s finances with a lens toward community wealth building, and (3) analyze how external policy interventions (namely California’s AB 310, the Public Banking Act, and a National Investment Authority) will enhance the strategy.

2018-2019 Campaign Updates:

Measure B received 44.15% of the votes with 430,488 Angelenos voting yes to a public bank, an astonishing achievement from a grassroots, volunteer-run campaign with little funding. Following Measure B, we are now focusing 100% of our efforts on building the California Public Banking Alliance coalition and leading the AB 857 campaign.

Campaign summary: LA City Council is in the process of creating their own in-house feasibility study through the Chief Legislative Analyst and City Administrative Officer, Office of Finance, and City Attorney’s office. The motion will stay in Committee until it’s ready to move into full council with a long series of recommendations. Some of the issues the City will study and report on include: regulatory barriers, purpose and structure, oversight, capitalization, liability and risks, implementation, and the budget and staffing of the bank. The City Administrative Officer has released a report that creates a basic outline of the City’s financing processes, policies, programs, and infrastructure financing alternatives.

Public Bank LA has submitted a letter to LA City Council addressing several key issues associated with forming the Municipal Bank of Los Angeles (MBLA) including: collateral, insurance, city charter amendment, and the state initiative for the Public Bank License. Below is a link to the letter which we sent to offices at LA City Hall including the: Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA), City Administrative Office and the Office of Finance and the Councilmembers on the Ad Hoc Jobs Committee regarding the CLA report on the MBLA.

On April 10, 2018, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party (LACDP) unanimously voted to endorse the Public Bank of Los Angeles, taking a position in favor of socially and environmentally responsible, state-chartered public banks. The resolution is a significant milestone for the public banking movement, as the LACDP represents over 2.4 million registered Democrats.

On June 29, 2018, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a resolution for a measure that will appear on the November 6, 2018 ballot, giving Los Angeles voters the power to authorize the formation of a municipal bank under Section 104(g) of the City Charter. With authority provided by the voters, the City will be able to pursue changes in federal and State law needed to achieve the creation of a municipal bank.

On July 15, 2018, the California Democratic Party (CDP) passed a resolution supporting socially and environmentally responsible, state-chartered public banks. The CDP represents over 8.7 million registered Democrats.

On November 6, 2018, 44% of Angelenos voted to support Measure B. The measure would have allowed the City to explore the creation of a public bank. Although the Measure was defeated, the Yes on B campaign generated national press, garnered the endorsements and support of over 150 unions, democratic clubs, social justice, environmental and community organizations, and brought the issue to the forefront of politics in Los Angeles as well as the national stage.

The Measure B campaign and the dozens of public banking movements rising across the country within the past year are proof that this is an idea with widespread support and will continue to grow. It’s the inevitable evolution of a private banking system that has only served the interests of a small, handful of people. Public banking presents a viable solution to Wall Street and it’s an idea that isn’t going to go away. We are now focusing on the California Public Banking Alliance to advance statewide legislation enabling localities to establish public banks.  This is just the beginning of the national movement. And it’s a fight we are certain will be won.

Public Bank LA’s press:

CPBA Press Release – California Public Banking Alliance sees its momentum continuing
Medium –This Fall, Measure B was Defeated, but Public Banking is on the Rise. 
Occupy – Defeats and Victories for Public Banking, Cooperative Economics in 2018 Elections
The Nation – Today Americans Determine Our Political Future
The Real News Network – Will Public Banking Free LA From Wall Street?
Capital and Main – Los Angeles’ Measure B Is a Moonshot Aimed at Creating a Public Bank
ABC 7 News – Measure B Would Allow Los Angeles to Create a Public Bank
Knock LA – Public Banks Are Less Risky Than Wall Street
The Real News Network – LA Voters to Consider Creating Nation’s First Municipal Public Bank – Banking on the Future of Los Angeles: Why we need Measure / Charter Amendment B
Los Angeles Times – L.A. Voters Will Decide Whether to Eliminate a Barrier to a Public Bank
Bloomberg – Los Angeles Weighs Bringing Its Wall Street Cash Home
Los Angeles Times – Why Los Angeles Should Start a Bank
Who.What.Why – Banking on the Public Option: Will LA Lead the Way for People-Owned Banks?
Huffington Post – What If Banks Were Publicly Owned? In LA, This May Soon Be A Reality.
Los Angeles Times – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s L.A. fundraisers were more about raising consciousness than money.
Los Angeles Times – Next step for L.A. public bank: Ask the voters for permission
Next City – Taking Back Agency and Accountability for the Banking System
Progressive.Org – A Movement for Public Banking Gains Momentum

Legislative resources:
Public Bank LA Charter.
Public Bank LA Letter to LA City Council
Press Release on LACDP Resolution Vote
Press Release on Public Bank Ballot Measure Vote
Press Release on CDP Resolution Vote
Measure B Argument in Favor. Petition: Create the Public Bank of Los Angeles #PublicBankLA