Public Banking for New Mexico


What is Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity?

Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity (AFLEP) is a New Mexico nonprofit think tank. The Alliance promotes investment and management of public funds for local benefit. New Mexico’s revenue is now largely invested in global banks outside the state, missing opportunities to invest in the needs and concerns of New Mexico communities. The public bank is a financial institution that enables a thriving State of New Mexico through expanded economic development and infrastructure enhancements.

What is a public bank and how is it funded?

Public banks hold a bank charter and must follow all the rules and regulations any community bank is required to follow. A public bank only manages and invests public funds (taxes, fees). A public bank does not accept deposits of individuals as a retail bank does.

What Is the purpose of a public bank?

Public banks are owned by the people through their representative governments: city, county, regional authority, state or tribe, for the purpose of benefiting the community.

How is a public bank different from privately-owned banks? 

  • Bank decisions are guided by a public mission or purpose established by the public.
  • Its purpose is to benefit the whole public, so it does not accept individual accounts or serve private shareholders.
  • It accepts and invests public funds (taxes and fees) and keeps them circulating in the state. Dividends are paid to the government body that owns the deposit.
  • Its decisions are fully transparent and accountable to the public, unlike privately-owned banks.
  • It works in partnership with community banks, credit unions and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) to make loans that enhance local communities.

Will the government run the bank?

No. A public bank is operated by professional bankers who make all bank financial decisions independent from the government entity. Strong protections are established between pursuit of the public interest and inappropriate political influence.

How does a public bank benefit the community?

  • It may invest in local economic and community development, such as: small businesses, low income housing, enhancing our food system, roads, buildings, parks, water and air safety, broadband and transitioning to sustainable energy.
  • Its loans can take the place of expensive bonds for public projects, thereby lowering project costs due to lower interest rates and paying the loan interest to the state-owned public bank.
  • Bank profits from these investments can help fund new community services and projects.

Would a public bank compete with community banks or credit unions?

 No.  A public bank, community banks and credit unions and CDFI’s work together to enhance the local economy. For example:

  • A public bank can provide low interest funding to community banks and credit unions for economic development and infrastructure loans they do not typically make.
  • Through a cooperative arrangement – as in North Dakota – a public bank can help reduce regulatory costs for community banks and credit unions.
  • While community banks and credit unions do not make loans for public projects, they benefit when the contractors who work on public projects borrow from them. Money from these interim financing loans is deposited locally, thereby enhancing the local community.

Are public banks safe?

Public banks make conservative, local investments. They are not vulnerable to the risk of loss associated with global investment banks. A public bank holds a bank charter and must comply with the rules and regulations and independent audits required under that charter. They are managed by professional bankers and governed by qualified community members and others committed to strengthening communities.

What are other examples of public banks?

The highly successful Bank of North Dakota has been owned and operated for the benefit of the people of North Dakota for 100 years. In 2018 the Bank of North Dakota (BND) recorded its 15th consecutive year of record profits with $159 million in net earnings, with an ROI of 18%. BND has helped North Dakota maintain a low unemployment rate, supplemented state government budget revenue, enabled a robust network of community banks in the state and high credit availability even during economic crises.

In the United States, there are initiatives to establish public banks in more than 23 cities, counties, regions, states and tribes. Most recently, legislation in California and New York has advanced and plans for municipal and regional public banks are in development in California.

The Sparkassen Savings Banks in Germany have supported thriving communities for more than 200 years. Public banks worldwide hold 40% of public funds, including taxes, fees and fines.


What is a Public Bank?

Bank of North Dakota

The National Movement

History of Public Banking in New Mexico


Upcoming Events

october, 2020

01oct3:00 pm4:00 pm2020 Sustainable Agriculture Fall Workshop Series: Seed Saving and On-farm BreedingLearn what it takes to be your own plant breeder and understand concepts of genetics and plant selection

08oct3:00 pm4:00 pm2020 Sustainable Agriculture Fall Workshop Series: Strategies to Prevent Development and Spread of Herbicide-Resistant WeedsWeeds in the garden and farm can become resistant to our most depended-upon herbicide treatments

08oct5:00 pm6:30 pmBring on the Power of Public Banking for FloridaLearn how public banks have been shown to respond more rapidly, effectively and equitably to crises than privately-owned banks

09oct10:00 am11:00 amPublic Banking Coalition Monthly Conference CallLearn more about Public Banking, discuss current issues and get updates on the movement.

13oct1:00 pm2:00 pmKeeping the Water we do get –in the Soil!A collaborative fall webinar series for the benefit of New Mexico’s farmers and ranchers and advancement of healthy soil principles on working lands

15oct3:00 pm4:00 pm2020 Sustainable Agriculture Fall Workshop Series: Beneficial Insect Identification and Habitat ManagementLearn why cultivating the insect ecosystem on your land is pertinent to sustainable agriculture

21oct6:00 pm7:00 pmPublic Banking and YOU!What is a public bank and why is it good for New Mexico? Join Democratic Party of Bernalillo County & AFLEP to find out.

22oct3:00 pm4:00 pm2020 Sustainable Agriculture Fall Workshop Series: Growing vegetables in NM – Managing challenges for an abundant harvestAn informative overview on the farming and gardening methods pertinent to the southwest climate and soil

22oct7:00 pm8:00 pmBring On the Power of Public Banking: How to Rescue Main Street Post COVID-19Public Banking Institute's Town Hall for Butte County, Northern California

23oct2:30 pm3:30 pmPublic Banks vs. the Racial Wealth GapCould a publicly-owned bank be the real solution to a history of harmful private bank practices?

29oct3:00 pm4:00 pm2020 Sustainable Agriculture Fall Workshop Series: Pruning Fruit Trees for Sustainable Production: Why, When, and HowGet a grasp on fruit tree management, especially pruning

Revolution at the Federal Reserve:  Nomi Prins and Thomas Hanna

The Laura Flanders Show
Jan 22, 2019

As Jim Yong Kim resigns from the World Bank, we talk about the way central banks steer world development and for whom. Former Goldman Sachs managing director Nomi Prins, author of “Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World,” and public ownership researcher Thomas Hanna believe that banking, and development, could be very different.

Truthout - FAIR Podcast - AFLEP

California’s New Public Banking Option Opens Door for Real Community Investment

Economy & Labor
Oct 22, 2019

Janine Jackson interviews Public Bank LA’s Trinity Tran about public banking for the October 11, 2019, episode of “CounterSpin.”

>> Listen to the Podcast

It's Our Money with Ellen Brown

Banking on the People by Ellen Brown - AFLEP

Ellen Brown’s
2019 Book

Today most of our money is created, not by governments, but by banks when they make loans. This book takes the reader step by step through the sausage factory of modern money creation, explores improvements made possible by advances in digital technology, and proposes upgrades that could transform our outmoded nineteenth century system into one that is democratic, sustainable, and serves the needs of the twenty-first century.

Order the Book

Join those who’ve endorsed a Public Bank for New Mexico

Paul Gibson endorses Public Banking NM


“I had the good fortune to work on this initiative before Bernie kidnapped all my time. This is one of those no-brainer initiatives that only the 1% could oppose. It has the potential to save the state millions of dollars by vastly reducing the cost of its bonds to improve infrastructure funding. in a public bank, our state funds can be used to build our local economy and our local infrastructure.”

– Paul Gibson
Retake Our Democracy