Oakland Needs a Public Bank!

Oakland Approves Feasibility Study!!


Susan Harman: “We have slain all the dragons. Support the study now.”

On Tuesday, September 19, the Oakland City Council approved the $100,000 appropriation for a feasibility study for the Public Bank of Oakland. Susan Harman, leading public bank activist, held up a red dragon’s head and reminded the Councilmembers that we have slain every dragon they have asked us to kill, and now we deserve the hand of the princess the funded study.

The City of Berkeley has contributed $25,000 towards the cost of the study, and the City of Richmond and the County of Alameda are likely to contribute as well. In addition, we have contributions from some private donors, so we should be able to expand the study somewhat from its original design.

The study is scheduled to take ten weeks, once the final contract with the City of Oakland is signed, which we hope will be soon.

Enormous congratulations to everyone who worked to make this happen!


Check out our awesome new longer video, from videographer and Friend of the Public Bank Maren Poitras.

We’d love it if your organization (business, nonprofit, neighborhood association, church, union, etc.) wants to sign our letter of support.


Public Banking Funds Sustainable Energy

On September 25 at 7:00 p.m. in Oakland’s City Council Chambers, 14th and Broadway, Councilmembers Dan Kalb and Rebecca Kaplan are sponsoring a great event, organized by us and Local Clean Energy Alliance.

Wolfram Morales, Chief Economist for Sparkasse, the association of local public banks in Germany, will explain the role of these institutions in speeding the development of local renewable resources such as solar and wind, at this panel discussion in City Hall.

Joining Wolfram will be: Nicolas Chaset, CEO of East Bay Community Energy (Alameda County’s soon-to-launch Community Choice energy program), Greg Rosen, Founder and Principal of High Noon Advisors (member of the East Bay Community Shared Solar Collaborative), and Jessica Tovar, Organizer for East Bay Clean Power Alliance. Pennie Opal Plant of Idle No More SF Bay, will lead an opening ceremony.


How We Got Here

On Tuesday, September 12, the Berkeley City Council voted by consent to fund the $25,000 that the City of Oakland asked us to find “somewhere else” before Oakland comes through with the $75,000 it has appropriated for our feasibility study, which is the first step towards the bank.

On the same night, the Richmond City Council meeting postponed its discussion of adding funds to the study, but we are optimistic that Richmond will choose to participate later this year.

On Thursday, June 29, in a very contentious and controversial vote, the Oakland City Council passed a new two-year budget. Thanks to a last-minute set of amendments from Councilmember Dan Kalb, $75,000 for the public bank feasibility study is in that budget.

The Council has asked that other groups fund the remaining $25,000.  In order to gain a Council majority to proceed with the study at the upcoming 9/19 meeting, we are asking for Friends to commit to donate to this cause.  If you are willing to donate any amount, please donate here or email us and act quickly if you can. Thank you for your support!


On Tuesday, June 27, the Berkeley City Council passed a resolution supporting the Public Bank of Oakland!

Victory at the Finance Committee!

On Tuesday morning, June 13, the Finance Committee of the Oakland City Council voted 3-1 to approve our request for $100,000 to fund the feasibility study for the Public Bank of Oakland!

Councilmembers Kalb and Guillen, and Vice-Mayor Campbell Washington voted for the resolution; Councilmember Noel Gallo voted against, but expressed support for the concept.

Our friends from DOME-Huichin, a fantastic local group under native leadership, working for divestment from banks that support the pipelines, also had a victory at the same meeting, where they proposed an amendment to Oakland’s Linked Banking Ordinance which will make divestment easier. This amendment passed the Finance Committee and was forwarded to the City Council, although a date was not set.

Why Do We Need Wall Street?

Maren Poitras made a video that makes many of our arguments for us.

Thanks to Maren for putting this together. Send it to your city councilmember, or your mayor if you’re not in Oakland. Also, if you haven’t already done so, please sign our petition to the City Council!

Read the Friends of the Public Bank of Oakland mission statement.

The Public Bank of Oakland will:
  • Get Oakland out from under the control of nonlocal big banks
  • Reduce the cost of lending and borrowing for the City of Oakland and nearby communities that make use of the Bank
  • Solve the problem of millions of dollars in cash that the cannabis industry cannot legally deposit in private banks
  • Bring jobs, affordable housing, new small businesses and worker cooperatives, infrastructure, credit, and independence to our city