This week the Washington DC City Council authorized $200,000 in the city’s FY2018 budget for a feasibility study for a public bank, following approval by the city’s Committee on Business and Economic Development last month.
As this post on the DC Public Banking Center’s blog notes, one of the catalysts for the vote was the city’s determination to review its banking relationship with Wells Fargo, after that institution failed a review of its community lending activities under the Community Reinvestment Act. This followed the 2016 revelation that the bank opened new accounts for existing customers without their permission, leading to legal actions resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements. In addition, the group DCReinvest has drawn attention to Wells Fargo’s funding of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
Congratulations to the DC Public Banking Center, which has been educating and organizing since 2013—this is a big step forward both locally and for many other states and municipalities considering a public bank.