Public Banking Can Improve the Lives of US Workers While Helping Save the Planet

by Public Bank LA
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"The lack of alternatives to Wall Street banks gave rise to the Public Bank LA initiative, which began a campaign to establish a municipal bank that would be owned by the city of Los Angeles."

The movement to create public banks is gaining ground in many parts of the U.S., particularly as part of an effort among activists and progressive lawmakers to extend banking access to low-income communities and communities of color in the post-COVID-19 economy. But how does public banking help protect the local community and assist with development? If public banks become part of the Federal Reserve — as a bill introduced by Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aims to do — what would be the consequences? Leading progressive economist Gerald Epstein, professor of economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has studied the issue of public banking extensively and sheds ample light on these questions in this exclusive interview for Truthout.

Los Angeles City Council Unanimously Supports Statewide Public Banking Option

by Public Bank LA
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The Los Angeles City Council today voiced its support for creating a statewide public banking option for California residents in an attempt to reduce racial and income inequalities in financial services. "There's no question that there's a need for a public bank. The simple fact is that the current banking system has never truly worked for working people and specifically for communities of color," said Councilman Kevin de Leon, who introduced a resolution to support the California Public Banking Option Act currently pending in the state Assembly. The resolution was unanimously passed by City Council members.

"The public banking option will level the playing field so that everyone — no matter how much money they make, the color of their skin, or which zip code they live in — can fully participate in our economic recovery."

The California Public Banking Option Act would create the BankCal program, which would be the first statewide program in the U.S. to offer residents access to a no-fee, no-penalty bank account, including a debit card, automatic bill pay, direct deposit capacity and an infrastructure for the account holder to build credit. The bill was co-authored and introduced by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles.

Ben Gordon, an organizer with Public Bank L.A. and the California Public Bank Alliance, called into the City Council meeting Tuesday to urge council members to approve the resolution. "This bill is an important step forward to bridge the racial equity and wealth gap in our state," he said.

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Free banking in California? New bill tackles access and racial equity

by Public Bank LA
in News
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Banking can be expensive, especially for low-wage workers. A score of California lawmakers have signed on to a new bill AB 1177 designed to offer Golden State households free financial services, taking on the state’s powerful banks at a time when easier access to banking services could help families cope with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the LA Times article by Margot Roosevelt: