The title of this post is the headline for a March 31 Mother Jones article by Meagan Day, much of which is about our work here in Oakland!
Leading the push in Oakland are progressive City Council members Rebecca Kaplan and Dan Kalb. [Link is to the East Bay Express article featured in our previous post.] “Public banking can give us a bank that is more responsive to the needs of the community,” Kaplan told me, “rather than prioritizing the needs of shareholders who don’t live in our community or the needs of corporate profit.”
Kaplan says there are two key reasons Oakland should pursue public banking. The first is that it can help low-income people—and especially people of color who may face discrimination at corporate banks—secure loans at a fair rate. “Oakland has long suffered from redlining,” Kaplan points out, and for-profit institutions can’t necessarily be trusted to refrain from discriminatory tactics.
The other big impetus, Kaplan says, is to give local pot entrepreneurs a safe place to stash their cash—literally. ” …
“The beauty is that you could really tailor a public bank to target whatever a community’s needs are,” says Mehrsa Baradaran, a law professor at the University of Georgia and author of How the Other Half Banks. Baradaran, who worked on Wall Street for a decade, explains that the major banks are bad at meeting community needs because their end goal is “not to benefit the people—it’s to increase capital.” A public bank can pool local resources and apply its money to local concerns.
“Maybe a certain community has a problem with payday lending,” Baradaran offers. A public bank could provide free accounts and emergency loan services for low-income people without the predatory practices of subprime corporate lenders. “Or maybe another community has an affordable housing issue, or needs farm loans or student loans.”
The article goes on to quote Richard Wolff. Read the whole thing.
The more press, the better, we say!