Is a Public Bank Right for Santa Fe?
The idea of a public bank for Santa Fe was first introduced by the grass roots organization WeArePeopleHere! seeking ways to strengthen the city’s economic health. Their initial exploration of the history of public banking, and research on “if and how” a public bank would serve Santa Fe resulted in their establishing Banking on New Mexico, which has led an extensive, in-depth examination of this significant public policy initiative.
City Officially Undertakes Research into Public Bank
Exploration of a public bank for Santa Fe began in fall 2012, when members of the grass roots collective WeArePeopleHere! began to study publicly owned banks in the US and abroad, establishing a relationship with the expert economists and bankers of the Public Banking Institute. Soon, city officials including Mayor Javier Gonzales and city councilors, joined the examination of whether a public bank was possible and would be of value to the city’s financial stability.
- September, 2014 – City of Santa Fe, Public Banking Institute and WeArePeopleHere! host international symposium on public banking, resulting in the establishment of Banking on New Mexico and continued exploration of a public bank by the city.
- January, 2015 – City Council contracts Building Solutions LLC (Principal, Katie Updike) to conduct Public Bank Feasibility Study
- November, 23, 2015 – BoNM presented the mayor and city attorney a definitive legal opinion from David Buchholtz of the Rodey Law Firm that New Mexico Constitutional and Civil Law and financial regulations permit the chartering of a public bank.
- January, 2016 – City of Santa Fe Feasibility Study reports a public bank is economically and operationally feasible
- January, 2016 – BoNM releases its Five-Year Model, confirming a public bank can provide new income and interest savings for city
- April, 2017 – City Council votes unanimously to establish the Public Bank Task Force proposed by Councilor Villarreal
Creating a Task Force to Answer Hard Questions
On April 16, 2017 a City Council Resolution set up a nine member Task Force “to determine the procedures, timelines and requirements that would be necessary to establish a chartered public bank and to make recommendations to the city council in order for the city council to make an informed decision about whether to establish a Public Bank for the City of Santa Fe.” The resolution further directs the Task Force to define the purpose of a chartered public bank, investigate how to best capitalize a public bank, and to recommend bank governance structures that will provide transparency and accountability to the public, with maintenance of a “high ethical standard.” The Task Force’s final report, due early in 2018, will include all the research needed to make an informed decision about submitting a New Mexico bank charter application for a Public Bank for Santa Fe.
On August 15, the Work of the City-Appointed Public Banking Task Force Began.
TASK FORCE PROCEEDINGS BELOW:
We are making available here, full audio recordings of the meetings with significant documents presented in meetings, and news of upcoming events and reports.
Public Banking Task Force Members’ Experience
June 28, 2017, city council unanimously approved Mayor Gonzales’ suggested appointees to the Task Force: finance and banking professionals, J. Wayne Miller, Randolph M. Hibben, and Darla Brewer; attorneys experienced in finance and banking, Kelly C. Huddleston and David P. Buchholtz; a professional in state and federal banking regulation, Judy A. Cormier; and two citizens at large, Robert A. Mang and Elaine Sullivan. The ninth member, Adam Johnson, is City Director of Finance. Task Force Chair David P. Buchholtz wrote the Rodey Law Firm’s formal opinion on the legality of a public bank for Santa Fe in 2015. READ MEMBER CREDENTIALS
Banking on New Mexico is the primary initiative of WeArePeopleHere!.
Our goal is to promote economic justice at the local level by putting the peoples’ money to work here at home, where it can be an engine for reducing debt and growing revenues for our community. Our Mission is to transform the current social and economic condition to one of a democratic society that respects and represents the well-being of all its people.
December 9, 2015
Bucks County Courier Times
Across the United States, states and municipal governments struggle to provide essential public services, such as schools, public safety, courts and prisons, public health, transportation infrastructure and parks, while also trying to keep taxes down for a middle…read more
July 26, 2015
BuzzFlash at Truthout.org
Santa Cruz County, California, recently figured out a way to hold big banks who engage in illegal and destructive behavior accountable: Don’t do business with them…read more
July 3, 2015
Pope Francis’ revolutionary encyclical addresses not just climate change but the banking crisis. Interestingly, the solution to that crisis whom the Pope took…read more
As activists pressure governments to remove their deposits from banks that back bad policies, cities are considering a new option: become their own financial institution that serves the needs of the citizens, not investors. read more...
In Portland, Oregon, a movement is slowly building to establish a public bank. After debating divestment from companies whose practices might be harmful to people or the environment, the City Council voted in April to stop investing city money in all corporations. Portland is also one of numerous U.S. cities that decided to stop banking with Wells Fargo, after the bank’s fraudulent accounts scandal made headlines. read more...
San Francisco could become the first city in the nation to launch a public bank. Supervisors Malia Cohen and Sandra Fewer are advancing the idea of establishing a municipal bank, which would end The City’s use of profit-driven large national commercial banks for banking services. read more...