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.

Featured Projects

Feasibility Study for a Municipal Bank

Seattle, WA

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

Multiple locations

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

Philadelphia, PA

In Philadelphia, HR&A has worked extensively to position public dollars to be maximally responsive to pressing urban needs, from creating a comprehensive poverty reduction plan, to designing an economic incentives strategy, to developing a plan to implement Neighborhood Resource Centers that provide one-stop housing and employment services to people on probation. Most recently, we have been engaged by the City of Philadelphia to reconsider the options available for the city to bank taxpayer dollars. We will be evaluating the legal, financial, and administrative feasibility of creating a municipal public bank that serves the people of Philadelphia through means such as extending banking services to the underbanked and investing in the city’s affordable housing stock.