by Angela Merkert, Executive Director, AFLEP

Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity met recently with the Economic & Rural Development & Policy Committee, an interim committee of the state legislature. You can watch the video of the full hearing here. We presented a proposal for a new plan for initiating a Public Bank of New Mexico (PBNM). The plan was developed based on recommendations from legislators in one-on-one conversations and expanded research on the potential for prosperity and wealth development for NM rural and frontier communities. That research notes that federal monies will be coming into the state designated for agriculture and rural small business development, especially for historically marginalized populations. AFLEP’s proposal takes those factors into consideration.

What’s in it?

The proposal met with the most positive responses that we’ve had regarding proposed legislation. What’s in our proposal? The details are being fine-tuned.
The key points include:

  1. an appropriation for an initial capitalization of the bank with $10 million, rather than $50 million;
  2. moving $35 million in deposits from a Wall Street bank into the PBNM, rather than $60 million;
  3. identifying two communities/regions of the state to engage in Community Conversations to identify potential and needs, including economic support;
  4. recruiting a community advisory group that would include stakeholders, including individuals in the roles of Main Street Directors, community banker, small business entrepreneur(s), credit union representative, and community foundation representative; and
  5. development of initial lending programs to address identified economic support gaps proposed by the advisory group that will be forwarded to the PBNM board.

The Community Conversations and planning would take place at the same time that bank implementation (incorporation, chartering, board and executive staff recruitment) is occurring. By the time the bank is ready for operation, initial lending programs will be in place and there will be a designated time to prove the bank’s feasibility and effectiveness.

This isn’t our final plan, but a strong foundation to the plan is developing and receiving positive responses. We’ll keep you informed of our progress. We wanted to share this new approach and our excitement about it with you!  Let’s keep the momentum going and focus on local revenues being invested in local communities for increased prosperity and the health and well-being of each one. Join with us as we advance this proposal!