Open Letter to Alameda County Supervisors

If your organization would like to sign this letter, and be available for other support as we go forward, just drop us a note.

Dear Supervisors:

As progressive East Bay organizations, we strongly encourage you to take immediate steps to establish a public bank to serve our community.

One key reason for establishing the East Bay Public Bank is divestment. This is the only way that our counties and larger cities can divest from the Wall Street banks, which:

• hasten planet-wide ecological disaster by funding fossil-fuel projects such as pipelines;

• target the poorest among us with predatory “payday” lending operations;

• exacerbate racial and immigrant injustice by lending to build private, for-profit prisons and detention centers; and

• perpetuate massive military violence around the world by lending to arms manufacturers and war profiteers.

Another key reason for establishing the East Bay Public Bank is local investment. Holding the monies of our local governments as deposits, our bank will manage the public accounts and make fiscally responsible loans for the good of the community. It will partner with local community banks and credit unions to finance renewable energy, affordable housing, and other projects that we the people want and need. It will help make the Green New Deal a reality in the East Bay.

The East Bay Public Bank’s charter will say that it must serve the people, unlike a private bank, which serves its shareholders. Our bank will be modeled after the Bank of North Dakota (BND), a sound, well-managed public institution that has served the people of that state for 100 years. Since 1995, BND has returned $385 million to North Dakota’s general fund.

Like BND, our bank will not speculate, and it will not pay its executives millions in compensation.

While earning profits through lending, the East Bay Public Bank will also save us money. Currently, our local governments pay millions in fees and interest charges every year to private banks that siphon money out of our communities and into the pockets of Wall Street executives and wealthy shareholders. Establishing our bank will make this kind of expense unnecessary.

Public banking is essential to reversing the accelerating economic inequality of the past several decades. The East Bay Public Bank will form the cornerstone of a vibrant, fair, and ecologically sustainable local economy.

We call on you to make it so.

Public Bank East Bay logo

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