California’s More Than Dreamin’ About Public Banks | Next City
AB 857, which creates a legal pathway in California for public banks owned by city and county governments where cities and counties would deposit public dollars, was recently passed by the California Assembly. The governor has until October 13 to sign it into law. Progress on public banks in California will be closely watched in other states and cities where organizers and public officials have been pushing for public banks — including Washington State, New Mexico, Michigan, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, the Twin Cities, Portland, Seattle, and elsewhere. Inspired by the state-owned Bank of North Dakota (until recently the only public bank operating in the U.S.), proponents of AB 857 envision a statewide network of public banks that would leverage local public deposits in support of public policy priorities like affordable housing and homeownership, clean energy and climate adaptation, small business lending, alternatives to payday loans, and other priorities that public banking advocates feel are too important to leave entirely up to privately owned banks.