The public banking movement has lost a champion. Chuck Grigsby, a long-time member of the Mass Public Banking steering committee and an advisory board member for the Public Banking Institute, passed away in late April.
Chuck’s advocacy for a Massachusetts state public bank built on his long career in finance and public service. From working as an international banker at Bank of Boston, he moved to community development and small business finance as manager of a new state loan fund, and then as founder and manager of a minority enterprise venture capital fund. Subsequently, he served for fifteen years on the Board of Boston Private Bank, including six years as Chair of the Loan Committee. As Director of Boston’s Neighborhood Development Department, Chuck provided financing for affordable housing, economic development, and capital construction. He was also President of Mass Growth Capital Corp., a state fund structuring loan packages for small businesses.
In 2010, he was appointed to a study commission on the feasibility of establishing a public bank for Massachusetts. The commission worked from an analysis by the Boston Federal Reserve, which simply scaled up the operations and governance of the Bank of North Dakota to reflect the larger population and economy of the Commonwealth. While Chuck agreed that duplicating the BND would be politically and financially problematic, he believed that there was still a need for public banking in Massachusetts, and proposed a public infrastructure bank as a first step. Legislation creating a public infrastructure bank was filed in 2017 and 2019 and laid the groundwork for our current bill.
Chuck’s insights into the workings of Massachusetts politics and the state’s community development and financial landscape, his strategic acumen, and his ebullience will be greatly missed by all of us. We send our thoughts to his family.
(Chuck’s obituary, published in the Boston Globe on May 16, can be read here.)