The East Bay Needs a Public Bank

BREAKING NEWS:

As of October 2, 2019, AB857, the law enabling local public bank charters in California, has been signed by Governor Newsom. We have made history! And we have more history to make! Follow our latest news page for new developments. We’re keeping an updated list of articles about the bill and other public banking news.

There has never been a better time to join the movement. We have lots of ways for you to plug in.

Welcome! Why are we here?

People want DIVESTMENT.

The cities of Berkeley, Oakland, and Richmond (not to mention Seattle, Santa Fe, etc., etc.) have all voted for divesting from pipelines and fossil fuels, but none of them have carried through. Why not? Because there is literally no clean bank big enough to handle their deposits.

People want LOCAL REINVESTMENT.

Our cities are teeming with urban problems, almost all of them disproportionately affecting black and brown populations: homelessness, gentrification pushing out marginalized communities, desperate infrastructure needs, impoverished parks and recreation programs, struggling local businesses, lack of local jobs, and so much more. Yet we send between 7 and 15 cents out of every tax dollar out of our cities forever, and into the hands of Wall Street bank shareholders, who couldn’t care less about our streets and our schools. When those banks profit from our tax revenues, they send the money straight into their own pockets. It’s like paying sales tax on our own money to greedy corporations.

People want A PUBLIC BANK.

The Bank of North Dakota, one of two public banks currently existing in the United States, not only saves the state of North Dakota that 7 to 15 cents per dollar, but also makes money. In 2017, its return on investment was 17%! In 2008, North Dakota didn’t have a foreclosure crisis, because the Bank of North Dakota didn’t invest in risky mortgages. And if you live in North Dakota, or go to college there, the bank will buy back your student loan … and restructure it to give you a 4% interest rate.

The East Bay can have our trifecta:

  • DIVESTMENT
  • LOCAL REINVESTMENT
  • THE PUBLIC BANK OF THE EAST BAY

We are very closely allied with the California Public Banking Alliance, where nine regional California activist groups are working together to facilitate statewide change and make public banks more feasible.

We support the Green New Deal, which includes the stated intent to rely on a network of public banks for funding.

Mission Statement

It is the mission of Public Bank East Bay to provide community oversight and stewardship in the formation and functioning of the Public Bank of the East Bay to base its decisions on the values of:  Equity, Accountability, Social Responsibility and Democracy.

1) Equity  – PBEB is committed to a public bank which acknowledges and attempts restitution of the historical burdens carried by disenfranchised communities, including communities of color and many other marginalized groups.

2) Accountability – The bank is accountable to the residents of the East Bay, who have a right to fully transparent explanations of the Bank’s actions and choices.

3) Social Responsibility – Decisions regarding who gets loans, what projects get invested in, and who benefits should take into account investing our money into the wealth and health of local communities and the environment.

4) Democracy: The bank will be governed using democratic processes which consciously and intentionally adhere to the values/principles listed above.

Publications

Our draft governance statement (written when we were Friends of the Public Bank of Oakland) and an overview of its contents. This document is being updated; however, the commitment to a majority-community board and an academy will not change.

Our white paper, laying out current situation and next steps. This document is periodically updated and given a new date when circumstances change. You can always find the current version at the link above in this paragraph.