NEXT CITY, by Oscar Perry Abello September 27, 2022

Public banking is already making headlines in one big city mayoral race slated for next year, and it’s bound to come up in at least one more.

(photo: Philadelphia City Hall, by Jose Fontano / Unsplash)

New Mexico comes up in this Next City article about Public Banking and city races this November. Here is an excerpt:

Last week, the Chicago Sun-Times profiled mayoral candidate Ja’Mal Green and his proposal to establish a public bank for the city of Chicago. Green follows in the footsteps of Amara Enyia, who ran for Chicago mayor the last time around, as well as former Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar who ran for city treasurer. Both Enyia and Pawar ran on platforms centered around public banking.

Meanwhile in Philadelphia, Derek Green (no relation) recently announced his candidacy for mayor, in the process resigning from his seat in city council where he spearheaded the passage of a bill directing city hall to take the first steps toward establishing a public bank. Current Mayor Jim Kenney has so far refused to implement the bill. But the bill passed 15-1, meaning all of Green’s former colleagues on city council who have announced their mayoral bids or are rumored to be in the mix have already voted in favor of a public bank in Philadelphia…

In 2019, California became the first state to pass legislation explicitly authorizing local governments in that state to charter and own banks — opening the door for public bank efforts in Los Angeles, San Francisco and a multi-government East Bay regional proposal. New York State legislators introduced a similar bill back in the 2020 legislative session, but it stalled then and in each year since

A bill to create a state-level public bank in New Mexico stalled last year and again this year. Commercial banks in the state continue to oppose the bill, largely for fear of competition. But credit unions in New Mexico came out in support of the bill after seeing the potential for loan participations to increase credit union lending volumes, especially when it comes to small business lending.

“Once I wrapped my head around it — and once it was clear they’re not taking your customers away, they’re just to help supplement what you already do and be another avenue to help you loan more money out in the community, it made a lot of sense,” said Harold Dixon, then board chair of the Credit Union Association of New Mexico, in an earlier interview with Next City.

Read the full article at Next City.