The field of public banking is rapidly evolving and increasingly significant.
We are eager to partner with thought leaders who are exploring the potential of municipal public banking. We view this work as a way to help cities across the country take bold, new steps towards creating much-needed alternatives to our current financial system to maximize municipal autonomy and free up capital for public priorities. While cities and other local entities will face challenges in creating their own banks, we are inspired by the potential we see in public banking as an avenue for generating stronger cities in addition to increasing local wealth and community benefits.
Feasibility Study for a Municipal Bank
Our latest study for the City of Seattle shows how Seattle and other U.S. cities can divest from Wells Fargo and pursue public banking as part of a larger effort to align their banking activities with progressive values, expand banking services for residents, and increase investment in pressing public needs like affordable housing and infrastructure. Learn More →
Study on the Nexus of Public Banking, Shared Ownership, and Municipalism
Activists and organizations around the world have called for new ownership models that deconcentrate and reassign economic power, often with the goals of proactively extending capital and employment to those who have been excluded, divesting from exploitative economic arrangements, and erasing the distinctions between “shareholder” and “stakeholder.” Public banking has emerged as an interesting but relatively unproven means of advancing these goals. Excited by the power of finding alignment between these movements, HR&A is currently supporting a philanthropic foundation with its economic justice program strategy by exploring how leaders of municipalist movements in the US and UK might use public banks to advance the values and impact of shared ownership—such as by using public banks to extend capital to cooperatives and credit unions.
Public Bank Feasibility Study
In the face of entrenched racial poverty and an $800+ million small business lending gap, HR&A conducted an independent study on the feasibility of a City-controlled public bank to achieve a more just economy. HR&A’s report recommended the structuring of — and outlined regulatory steps to establish — a public bank that would loan government funds to historically underbanked small businesses to support job growth and wealth creation while responsibly managing public funds.
January 2, 2019
The effort to divest from Wall Street—and stop environment-killing projects gained momentum after the historic pipeline protest. Here’s what a city needs, and could gain, from municipal banking →
November 1, 2018
At the beginning of 2018 the City of Seattle commissioned a study to look at the feasibility of creating a municipal bank →