Good news! “An Act to Create a Massachusetts Public Bank” has received a reporting extension from the Joint Committee on Financial Services. That means we are still able to advocate for passage, including asking for co-sponsors.

There has been some great recent media focusing on public banking and the Massachusetts public bank bill. Read, be inspired, and then contact your state Senator and Representative to express your support for “An Act to Create a Massachusetts Public Bank.”

First, writing in Non-Profit Quarterly, Malia Lazu, a former regional president of Berkshire Bank as well as an activist and community organizer, makes “A Banker’s Case for Public Banking.” She looks at the power of public banks to address existing economic inequities, close the racial wealth gap, and build small business opportunity and strong local economies. In addition to our Massachusetts bill, she looks at public bank and green bank campaigns in California and Illinois, and the very positive impact the Bank of North Dakota has had, not just for small businesses but for the state’s community banking sector.

Public banks support community banks, she writes, through participation lending: “If a local bank is too small to make a priority community loan, the public bank can step in and support the small bank by effectively providing a ‘match’ to the small bank’s loan. This strategy increases capital for the local community economy, democratizes banking, and allows smaller banks to grow sustainably rather than get swallowed up by larger banks, as has been the national trend for decades.” Participation lending to Massachusetts-chartered banks is a key component of the Massachusetts public bank bill.

Secondly, the folks at Incorruptible Mass recently hosted Mass Public Banking co-chair Nancy Ryan for a talk about what a public bank does, how it works, and the benefits a public bank would bring to Massachusetts small businesses, small farms, and economically disadvantaged communities. They discussed how the bank will be capitalized and where its deposits will come from, and how reinvesting a relatively small amount of state cash in a public bank will put that public money to use in ways that will benefit local economies as well as community banks. You can listen here.

Finally, in a recent interview on Truthout, progressive economist Gerald Epstein describes how the public banking movement is growing both in the US and globally, and the roadblocks to mission-driven banking that have been set up by what he calls “the Bankers’ Club”—big banks, the politicians who support them, and the organizations who defend private, profit-seeking banking as sufficient for the financial needs of our economy. Public banks can, do, and will finance good projects that profit-driven banks ignore, to cut dependence on “too big to fail” institutions, to stabilize financial markets, and to do all this more economically, without paying big returns to shareholders or salaries and bonuses to executives.

If these articles inspire you to support our Massachusetts effort, please speak up! We have great support in the House and Senate, and our reporting extension allows us to add to it.

In addition to the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Jamie Eldridge (Middlesex and Worcester), and Reps. Mike Connolly (26th Middlesex) and Antonio Cabral (13th Bristol), co-sponsors are Sen. Liz Miranda (Second Suffolk), Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis (7th Middlesex), Rep. Carmine Gentile (13th Middlesex), Sen. Rebecca Rausch (Norfolk, Worcester and Middlesex), Sen. Jason M. Lewis (Fifth Middlesex), Sen. Julian Cyr (Cape and Islands), Sen. Adam Gomez (Hampden), Sen. Joanne M. Comerford (Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester), Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa (1st Hampshire), Rep. Steven Owens (29th Middlesex), Rep. David LeBoeuf (17th Worcester), Rep. Samantha Montaño (15th Suffolk), Rep. James Hawkins (2nd Bristol), Rep. Carol A. Doherty (3rd Bristol), Rep. Vanna Howard (17th Middlesex), Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven (27th Middlesex), and Rep. Kay Khan (11th Middlesex).

If your legislator is a co-sponsor, please call to thank them. If not, please call to ask them to sign and and support public banking in Massachusetts.