Cities Across California Unite Behind Public Banking Legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

News from CA Public Banking Alliance

April 17, 2019

Contact: Matt Kovac, mkovac@lccrsf.org(415) 510-9601

Cities Across California Unite Behind Public Banking Legislation
Movement against Wall Street control over public finance builds momentum

SAN FRANCISCO – Today city councils in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland enacted resolutions in support of AB 857, California’s landmark legislation enabling communities to establish public banks. They join with the County of Santa Cruz and cities such as San Jose that have passed resolutions supporting a statewide regulatory framework allowing for local and regional public banks.  

The legislation, coauthored by Assembly members Miguel Santiago (Los Angeles) and David Chiu (San Francisco), allows municipalities to redirect public funds from megabanks that invest in fossil fuels, private prisons, and gun manufacturers toward community-owned banks that would invest in local socially responsible initiatives including clean energy, affordable housing, and infrastructure projects.

“Cities across California are ready to disentangle from Wall Street’s control of banking public dollars,” said Sushil Jacob, senior economic justice attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, a founding member of the California Public Banking Alliance. “Wall Street banks have proven an unreliable custodian of our public dollars, from investments that are antithetical to our values, to high fees for banking our communities. These resolutions show that powerful local governments across the state support public dollars for public good in public banks.”

Under the legislation, public banks will be required to partner with local credit unions and community banks to provide low-interest loans to local small businesses and nonprofits.

The bill is backed by the California Public Banking Alliance (CPBA), a statewide advocacy organization of financial experts, community organizers and concerned citizens.

“This morning’s vote is for the people that too long have been underbanked and overcharged,” said LA City Council President Herb J. Wesson. “The reality is our financial system is not working for a large majority of people, in particular communities of color. A public banking system in our state is a much-needed first step to bring economic justice to California’s most disadvantaged communities.”

The cities of Richmond, San Diego, Berkeley and Santa Rosa are expected to pass similar resolutions this month.

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The California Public Banking Alliance (CPBA) is a coalition of public banking activists in California working to create socially and environmentally responsible city and regional public banks.