What is a Public Bank?
A public bank (or municipal public bank*) is a bank that is:
Owned and operated by the city.
Chartered by the state of California.
Governed by its charter and laws passed by the Board of Supervisors and Mayor.
Operated by banking professionals (not politicians).
Guided by a Board of Directors.
Accountable to its shareholders, which are San Francisco residents.
The City’s Banker.
*Municipal Bank and Public Bank are used interchangeably on our website.
Do other public banks exist now?
Founded in 1919, the Bank of North Dakota holds and manages the state's taxpayer money and lends it to serve the needs of the people of North Dakota. However, it also regularly makes the highest return on equity of all U.S. banks. It regularly transfers these profits to the people of the state through low interest loans, increased services or regular deposits to the state general fund (which decreases taxes). It is structured differently than a city public bank would be, but it would contribute to the financial and real well-being of its citizens as seen below. American Samoa’s Territory Bank also became operational just this year (2018).
San francisco Reports & REsources
How could a public bank serve San Francisco?
A public bank could provide any benefits to San Francisco that the Board of Supervisors or voters choose. Rather than deposit taxpayer money in commercial banks, San Francisco would deposit taxpayer money in our own bank. Whereas commercial banks can finance or invest in any companies or projects they choose, a public bank would finance or invest only in companies and projects serving the needs of the city and its people. This would allow our bank to provide:
Low-interest loans for city infrastructure at rates of 1% or 2%. Half of the total cost of some current infrastructure projects, goes simply to cover interest and fees on loans from big Wall Street banks.
Low-interest loans for public housing, both new construction and capital improvements.
Commercial loans to businesses, but only in partnership with Community Banks and Credit Unions.
Loans to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to drive community revitalization.
Financing to other community redevelopment goals and benefits to the city’s people the legislature chooses.
Savings for our city by refinancing current debt and SF residents' student debt
Our bank would not compete with local community banks, rather, it could co-partner a loan by a community bank.
Bank of North Dakota
Profile of BND in Institute for Local Self Reliance
territorial bank of American Samoa
Profile of Territorial Bank in American Banker
German Sparkasse Banks
VIDEO: Forum in Oakland brings to light how Public Banks can fund renewable energy (Public Banking Institute)
Oakland public bank organizers look to fund renewable energy (East Bay Times)