Home page | May 26, 2022

How NYC can use public funds to fuel a different kind of financial system that advances racial and economic justice

 

Wall Street has a long history of putting profits over people. The big banks perpetuate structural racism in housing, labor, and climate. Instead of serving the public good, they prioritize shareholder returns over the needs of people and communities. A public bank in New York City would help combat the racist and extractive banking system and build community wealth.

In our latest case study, the third in our 4-part economic democracy series, we spotlight how New Economy Project launched the Public Bank NYC (PBNYC) campaign to build a public bank in New York City that is specifically configured to serve Black and brown communities.

Each year, the City of New York moves tens of billions of public dollars through Wall Street banks—the same banks that persistently redline NYC’s neighborhoods of color, that finance private prisons, fossil fuel extraction, and other destructive industries. What if public money went instead to a publicly-owned bank: a financial institution that is owned by and accountable to New Yorkers? The city could leverage the billions that now flow through private banks to support investments that serve the common good.

By shifting the focus of finance from private profits to the public welfare, public banks can begin to repair harms caused by longstanding discriminatory practices that have extracted wealth from Black and brown people and neighborhoods, like predatory lending, overdraft fees, and redlining.

Read the case study to learn how New Economy Project built a coalition of working-class Black, brown, and immigrant New Yorkers to arrive at a bold vision for a public bank.

Banking for the Public Good-Public Bank NYC Report CoverThis case study is part of Demos’ new Economic Democracy project, which asks how poor and working-class people, especially in Black and brown communities, can exercise greater control over the economic institutions that shape their lives. This framework has 3 goals:

  1. Break up and regulate new corporate power, including Amazon, Google, and Facebook.
  2. Expand the meaning of public goods and ensure that services are equitably and publicly administered.
  3. Strengthen “co-governance” strategies so that people and public agencies can collectively make decisions about the economy.

With the accelerating frequency of climate disasters, it is especially important to build the power of those most impacted by disasters— often Black, brown, and Indigenous communities—to ensure they have equitable access to the resources needed to recover and move forward.

This case study spotlights how the New Economy Project (NEP) launched the Public Bank NYC (PBNYC) campaign to build a public bank in New York City that is specifically configured to serve Black and brown communities. By shifting the focus of finance from private profits to the public welfare, public banks can begin to repair harms caused by longstanding discriminatory practices that have extracted wealth from  Black and brown people and neighborhoods, like predatory lending, overdraft fees, and redlining.

DOWNLOAD the Report

 

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