Every year, billions of dollars of public money flow through banks. Wallstreet Megabanks, often accused of prioritizing shareholder profits, control a total of $509 Billion in deposits and $4.3 Trillion in state and local pensions. Advocates for public banks want more of that money to benefit the community.
The little city of Hazen, North Dakota, population 2,300, is the kind of town where farming and ranching families often have a second income from a job at a power plant or a coal mine.
As a teenager, Christie Obenauer, née Huber, frequently made the hourlong drive from Hazen to Bismarck, the state capital, to go shopping with her sister. On the way, they’d usually make a stop to run an errand for their dad, who ran Union State Bank of Hazen.