Press Room & Media
In the News
By American Society of Civil Engineers – On March 3rd, ASCE released the 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure through a virtual Solutions Summit to an audience of more than 3,400 attendees from across the country. The Report Card, which covers 17 categories of infrastructure, assigned the U.S. a cumulative grade of ‘C-‘, up from a ‘D+’ in the 2017 report. While the GPA improved slightly, there are still 11 categories in the ‘D’ range, meaning these systems are in poor condition and at risk.
By Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times – A score of California lawmakers have signed on to a new bill designed to offer Golden State households free financial services, taking on the state’s powerful banks at a time when easier access to banking services could help families cope with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
By Jana Kadah, Bay City News Service – Five California legislators are trying to establish the nation’s first public banking option that would offer no-fee, no-penalty bank accounts to all California residents. The California Public Banking Option Act, also known as BankCal, seeks to close the widening racial wealth gap by offering financial services at no cost. Those services include a no-fee, no-penalty debit account that requires employees to facilitate direct deposit into the account when requested.
By Geeta Minocha, Cleveland Scene – Approximately 25% of Cleveland residents are unbanked or underbanked, preventing them from accessing credit, building wealth, or taking full advantage of social programs like TANF or Medicaid. Disconnecting people from the financial system makes them more vulnerable to predatory practices, making this issue especially salient for a city that is no stranger to reverse redlining. Public banking is the answer.
By Mark Anderson, Sacramento Business Journal – Los Angeles Assemblymember Miguel Santiago has introduced legislation that would form a state panel to create a no-fee, no-penalty bank account supported by the state and managed by existing financial companies. Unlike a previous attempt by Santiago to create public banks, this time around, the legislation, Assembly Bill 1177, would form a Public Banking Option Board, which would partner with existing financial institutions to offer the free accounts statewide through a “BankCal” program.
By Scott Horsley, NPR – Banks have been permanently shuttering branches for years, but the number of closures hit a record in 2020 as the pandemic accelerated the move by many customers to online banking. Banks closed 3,324 branches last year, according to a tally by S&P Global Market Intelligence. It makes financial sense for banks given the cost of operating branches. When banks close, the impact can go beyond inconvenience. It can also push people to more expensive options such as check-cashing stores or payday lenders.
By Katie Wilson, Crosscut – It’s a high-stakes year in the Washington state Legislature. If you’ve been reading the news, you’ve probably heard about proposals to provide pandemic relief, tax the rich, protect tenants from mass eviction and more. But some transformative bills have been flying mostly under the radar. One of them, Senate Bill 5188, could create a Washington state public bank.
By Terri Friedline and Ameya Pawar, Chicago Sun-Times – Traditional banking has radically changed in recent decades. In 1985, there were more than 18,000 such banks, but by 2018 there were only about 5,400. Today, just five banks control half of all assets, or about $7 trillion. As these banks have gotten bigger through mergers and acquisitions, they have closed branches in many lower income communities, in Indigenous communities, and in communities of color in urban and rural areas.
By Peter Strozniak, Credit Union Times – Time is running out for a proposed bill that would establish a public bank in New Mexico, a measure endorsed by the state’s credit union trade group but strongly opposed by the state’s community bankers association. “We’re grateful that we had the two hearings and the opportunity to generate even more awareness and information regarding the benefits of a public bank to our state’s finance system,” Angela Merket, executive director of the Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity (AFLEP), said.
By Melody Finnemore, Portland Tribune – Senate Bill 339 would establish the Bank of the State of Oregon and provide more significant support for community banks and credit unions. If created, the state bank would be guided by an advisory board of directors in its management and operation, and would be subject to a mandatory audit by the secretary of state.