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Core members of the Brass Tacks Team, from left to right: Dan Metzger, Elizabeth Dwyer and Nichoe Lichen
Core members of the Brass Tacks Team, from left to right: Dan Metzger, Nichoe Lichen and Elizabeth Dwyer.

Santa Fe City Council Launches a Task Force to Formally
Consider a Public Bank for Santa Fe

(from left to right) Co-sponsors of the Task Force Resolution: District 1 Councilor Renee Villarreal, District 3 Councilor Carmichael Dominguez, District 2 Councilor Joseph Maestas, District 2 Councilor Peter Ives, District 4 Councilor Michael Harris, District 1 Councilor Signe Lindell

On April 26, 2017, the Santa Fe City Council, with Councilor Renee Villarreal as lead advocate, voted unanimously to create a Public Banking Task Force to further consider establishing a Public Bank for Santa Fe.

The resolution resulted from a collaboration of Banking on New Mexico, the Brass Tacks Team, City Councilors and City Staff. It was sponsored by City Councilors Renee Villarreal, Peter Ives, Joseph Maestas, Signe Lindell, Michael Harris, and Carmichael Dominguez, all members of the Council’s Finance Committee. It also had the support of Mayor Javier Gonzales, an early advocate of a Public Bank for Santa Fe.

Chairman of the Board of the Public Banking Institute, Walt McRee, lauded the City Council’s action, saying, “In recent years Santa Fe has been a sort of guiding light across the nation to those working on creating public banks in their own cities and states. People all over have been paying close attention and have seen that this kind of progress takes patience, persistence, common sense and goodwill. We’ll continue watching Santa Fe as the process continues and we congratulate everyone for their excellent work.”

The resolution establishes a task force “to provide the City Council with all the information needed to make an informed decision about submitting an application for a New Mexico Bank Charter for a Public Bank for Santa Fe.” The task force will define the purpose of a chartered public bank for Santa Fe, investigate and make recommendations on the best way to capitalize a public bank, and recommend bank governance structures that will provide transparency and accountability to the public, and maintenance of high ethical standards.

The resolution calls for a nine-member task force, appointed by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of the Governing Body, to include: the director of the city finance department or their representative as needed; three members with financial and/or banking experience who are currently employed by or retired from a community bank, a community credit union, and/or a community development financial institution (CDFI) in New Mexico; two members with legal experience in public finance and the banking industry in New Mexico; one member with federal and state regulatory experience in the banking industry; and two residents at large. The task force will also include a professional facilitator. The resolution also instructs the City finance department to “provide a written report to the Governing Body and the public that details the changes in policy and practice for treasury, cash management and investment, and bank services since the completion of the Public Bank Feasibility Study – and that identifies the significant opportunities that remain to further improve the financial policies and practices of the city government.”

The late Craig Barnes, political commentator, peace negotiator, playwright and founder of the not-for-profit organization WeArePeopleHere! and its Banking on New Mexico initiative promoted public banking as a way to truly improve the lives of the people of Santa Fe. Elaine Sullivan, now president of the WeArePeopleHere! Board of Directors, recalled that Craig “called a public bank the engine toward a larger purpose which is government of, by and for the people of our community, all of us.” She added, “Tonight was about that kind of democracy, the true definition of community.”

In a lecture Craig Barnes gave in June of 2011, he told his audience, many of whom are now active in Banking on New Mexico, “I dream of the day when they say, ‘This was the generation that began the new story; these were the people who told it, and this is what they did in Santa Fe to get it going.’”

“I’m proud to be a partner for a community-driven effort to look at the nuts and bolts of public banking and how it can work for our community. Now the hard work begins, and I have confidence a task force made up of community experts and interested community members will dig in.”

– Councilor Renee Villarreal

BoNM’s Five-Year Financial Model shows debt reduction and profit in first year of operation

In 2016, BoNM released a Five-Year Model Supporting a Public Bank for Santa Fe. It suggests that a Public Bank for Santa Fe could, in its first year of operation; help the City substantially reduce its annual debt service cost while making a small profit. In its first five years of operations, a public bank, as can be seen in the study, would significantly contribute to the City’s bottom line both in interest savings and bank profits.

(from left to right) Co-sponsors of the Task Force Resolution: District 1 Councilor Renee Villarreal, District 3 Councilor Carmichael Dominguez, District 2 Councilor Joseph Maestas, District 2 Councilor Peter Ives, District 4 Councilor Michael Harris, District 1 Councilor Signe Lindell

On April 26, 2017, the Santa Fe City Council, with Councilor Renee Villarreal as lead advocate, voted unanimously to create a Public Banking Task Force to further consider establishing a Public Bank for Santa Fe.

The resolution resulted from a collaboration of Banking on New Mexico, the Brass Tacks Team, City Councilors and City Staff. It was sponsored by City Councilors Renee Villarreal, Peter Ives, Joseph Maestas, Signe Lindell, Michael Harris, and Carmichael Dominguez, all members of the Council’s Finance Committee. It also had the support of Mayor Javier Gonzales, an early advocate of a Public Bank for Santa Fe.

Chairman of the Board of the Public Banking Institute, Walt McRee, lauded the City Council’s action, saying, “In recent years Santa Fe has been a sort of guiding light across the nation to those working on creating public banks in their own cities and states. People all over have been paying close attention and have seen that this kind of progress takes patience, persistence, common sense and goodwill. We’ll continue watching Santa Fe as the process continues and we congratulate everyone for their excellent work.”

The resolution establishes a task force “to provide the City Council with all the information needed to make an informed decision about submitting an application for a New Mexico Bank Charter for a Public Bank for Santa Fe.” The task force will define the purpose of a chartered public bank for Santa Fe, investigate and make recommendations on the best way to capitalize a public bank, and recommend bank governance structures that will provide transparency and accountability to the public, and maintenance of high ethical standards.

The resolution calls for a nine-member task force, appointed by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of the Governing Body, to include: the director of the city finance department or their representative as needed; three members with financial and/or banking experience who are currently employed by or retired from a community bank, a community credit union, and/or a community development financial institution (CDFI) in New Mexico; two members with legal experience in public finance and the banking industry in New Mexico; one member with federal and state regulatory experience in the banking industry; and two residents at large. The task force will also include a professional facilitator. The resolution also instructs the City finance department to “provide a written report to the Governing Body and the public that details the changes in policy and practice for treasury, cash management and investment, and bank services since the completion of the Public Bank Feasibility Study – and that identifies the significant opportunities that remain to further improve the financial policies and practices of the city government.”

The late Craig Barnes, political commentator, peace negotiator, playwright and founder of the not-for-profit organization WeArePeopleHere! and its Banking on New Mexico initiative promoted public banking as a way to truly improve the lives of the people of Santa Fe. Elaine Sullivan, now president of the WeArePeopleHere! Board of Directors, recalled that Craig “called a public bank the engine toward a larger purpose which is government of, by and for the people of our community, all of us.” She added, “Tonight was about that kind of democracy, the true definition of community.”

In a lecture Craig Barnes gave in June of 2011, he told his audience, many of whom are now active in Banking on New Mexico, “I dream of the day when they say, ‘This was the generation that began the new story; these were the people who told it, and this is what they did in Santa Fe to get it going.’”

“I’m proud to be a partner for a community-driven effort to look at the nuts and bolts of public banking and how it can work for our community. Now the hard work begins, and I have confidence a task force made up of community experts and interested community members will dig in.”

– Councilor Renee Villarreal

BoNM’s Five-Year Financial Model shows debt reduction and profit in first year of operation

In 2016, BoNM released a Five-Year Model Supporting a Public Bank for Santa Fe. It suggests that a Public Bank for Santa Fe could, in its first year of operation; help the City substantially reduce its annual debt service cost while making a small profit. In its first five years of operations, a public bank, as can be seen in the study, would significantly contribute to the City’s bottom line both in interest savings and bank profits.

Banking on New Mexico is the primary initiative of WeArePeopleHere!
Our mission is to educate and advocate for the creation of a public bank to democratize our local economy and support the City in its stewardship of the peoples’ money. 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.

It Should Be Done.

Benefits of a Public Bank for Santa Fe

A Public Bank – owned by the City rather than by private stockholders – would keep Santa Fe’s public monies at home by:

  • Protecting the City’s Resources from the dangerous practices of Global Banks
  • Paying higher interest on City deposits
  • Charging lower interest on City borrowing
  • Retaining interest paid and interest earned within the Santa Fe economy
  • Assuring local control of the City’s resources,
  • Increasing lending to projects benefiting our local community
  • Partnering with locally owned Community Banks and Credit Unions to invest in Santa Fe’s economic growth.

It Can Be Done.

Managing a Public Bank in Santa Fe

A formal legal opinion by the Rodey Law Firm supports the legality of a Public Bank for Santa Fe. The bank would be governed and managed by a professional banking staff and Board of Directors totally independent of elected or appointed government officials. The bank’s policies, priorities and practices would be developed by the People of Santa Fe. Initially at least, the bank would provide banking services only to the City and other public institutions and governments.

public-bank-santa-fe-circle

It Has a Record of Success.

Creating a Public Bank for Santa Fe

The public bank would be chartered and regulated by the New Mexico Department of Licensing and Regulations, Financial Services Division. The state-owned Public Bank of North Dakota has been successful since it was founded in 1919. The Chickasaw Nation Bank2 has grown from $7.5 million to more than $100 million in assets since its founding in 2002, and public banks have thrived in Germany, Switzerland and other countries around the world for Centuries.

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Public Banking — Funding Local, Sustainable Economies