by Barbara Clancy

Public bank campaigns in Massachusetts and California were the focus of last week’s edition of “Corporations and Democracy,” a radio show airing on Mendocino County CA public radio stations KZYX-FM and hosted by Steve Scalmanini and Annie Esposito.

David Cobb of Cooperation Humboldt and the California Public Banking Alliance brought listeners up to date on the city and regional public bank campaigns kicked off by the passage of AB857 in 2019, and introduced a new California bill, AB1177, which would create a loan fund to provide banking services to under- and unbanked residents.

Ruth Caplan, co-chair of the Mass Public Banking steering committee, gave details on SD1712/HD3247, including capitalization and governance, and the outreach campaign to raise the profile of the bills to community development financial institutions, community development corporations, municipal leadership, and economic and racial justice organizations.

Ruth also gave updates on ongoing public bank campaigns in New Jersey, Philadelphia, New Mexico, and New York state, and David highlighted the public banking bill introduced on the federal level by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, and prospects for allowing post offices across the country to offer basic retail banking services as an alternative to high fees at commercial banks and payday lenders.

While the Bank of North Dakota is currently the only state public bank in the US, as Ruth pointed out, public banks are common around the world. The show is an hour long but packed with information on a growing movement. You can listen or download it here

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