What is a Public Bank?


We’re glad you’re interested in public banking and want to know more about it. If you’re new to the idea, please check out the many excellent resources on the Public Banking Institute website, including the video, “Public Banking Made Easy,” and these frequently asked questions. PBI’s website also features links to podcasts on banking and other current economic issues, videos, and reports.

On our website, take a look at  “Public banks: the basics” to learn what a public bank is and is not, how it operates, and a little about the history of public banking in the US. If you are already familiar with public banking and would like to know more about how municipalities and community banks could benefit from partnering with a public bank, you’ll want to take a look at the resources on this page. In addition to the fact sheets here, “Banking in Nine Words” takes a more philosophical/systemic approach to the vulnerabilities of our financial system. You’ll also find recommended books and links to allied organizations working on public banking in other states, and nationally.

Public bank advocacy has been a multi-year project here in the commonwealth. On this “history” page, you can find links to a bill authorizing a study committee on public banking, that commission’s report, and some critiques of the commission’s conclusions.

The recent legislative win in California, where recently-passed legislation creates a pathway for municipalities and counties to create their own public banks, and the creation of a public bank commission by New Jersey Governor Phil Murph (a former Goldman Sachs executive!) has sparked wider media interest in public banking, and highlighted dozens of state and city-level efforts to create public banks. This video features several of the elected officials and community leaders who are working to make the public bank vision a reality.

We hope you follow progress on our bill to create a public infrastructure bank. For information on this legislation see this page. We also welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to contact us!