LA Public Bank: Empowering Worker-Owned Co-Ops & Democratic Governance

by Public Bank LA
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We’re excited to announce two new briefings in the joint series on the Los Angeles public bank by the Jain Family Institute (JFI) and the Berggruen Institute. This latest briefing focuses on lending programs aimed at promoting financial justice and community wealth.

"Building Community Wealth: Financing Employee Ownership through a Los Angeles Public Bank" explores how the LA public bank can help employees purchase retiring owners' small businesses. Given the anticipated "silver tsunami" that will see over 360,000 California small business owners retire by 2030, there is a remarkable opportunity to foster employee ownership and safeguard the survival of small businesses across the state.

The Los Angeles public bank could support the transition of 1,500 workers into shared business ownership within ten years, effectively revitalizing an underserved lending market that Wall Street and commercial banks often overlook. The briefing emphasizes the positive impact on wages, job stability, and wealth creation for employees and local communities in Los Angeles.

The financial justice report explores possibilities for the bank to provide lower-cost student debt and free banking services to Angelenos through partnerships with local financial institutions. This holds great potential for improving accessibility and advancing equity in the financial landscape of Los Angeles.

Read the full briefing here.

In the second briefing, JFI and the Berggruen Institute explore democratic governance. This report presents an innovative vision for a governance structure that incorporates citizen input through deliberative democracy, utilizing randomly-selected citizen panels. Within this framework, diverse boards take on responsibilities including decision-making, research, oversight, and representation of historically underrepresented groups.

"Democratic Governance Frameworks" sheds light on the vital role of public participation in shaping the governance of a public financial institution. By exploring various contexts, it highlights the urgent necessity for citizen involvement in determining city investment priorities. Part 2 of the Los Angeles public bank series emphasizes the importance of citizen engagement in investment decision-making and explores principles that can be extended to empower citizen participation across the entire economy.

Read the full briefing here.

LA Public Bank: Generating Profit and 17,000 Affordable Housing Units

by Public Bank LA
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In a move that will help tackle the affordable housing crisis in Los Angeles, the Jain Family Institute and the Berggruen Institute have released their second publication on the LA public bank, highlighting how a municipally-owned financial institution could transform the city's affordable housing landscape.

Current policies are projected to add only 20% of the city's self-assessed needs for affordable housing units by 2029. The JFI/Berggruen briefing dives into the challenges of affordable housing and reveals how feasible projects often get overlooked due to the limitations of the existing financial system.

The report presents five groundbreaking LA Public Bank lending programs customized for affordable housing finance, including a rapid acquisition fund, new construction loans, and assistance in creating homeowner accessory dwelling units. These programs could help build or preserve over 17,000 affordable units in Los Angeles during the first decade of operation while making a profit for taxpayers.

This publication is part of the ongoing Municipal Banking Series on the impact of a public bank in Los Angeles. Future releases will explore how a public bank could democratize financial institutions, accelerate the green energy transition, and empower worker ownership of small businesses. Stay tuned for more exciting updates on how the LA public bank can revolutionize finance and empower communities in need.

Read the Public Bank LA May 10, 2023 Newsletter.

Transcending Finance with Public Banking

by Public Bank LA
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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.