As businesses and workers around San Francisco struggle to keep up with the continually ballooning costs of the Bay Area and maintain economic stability in the throes of a pandemic, members of the Board of Supervisors are pushing to establish a public bank.
Legislation introduced by Supervisor Dean Preston at the end of January, called the Reinvestment in San Francisco Ordinance, seeks to establish a working group, made up of four community representatives and three banking experts, that would finalize the details of establishing a public bank. The goal is to establish a fully functional municipal bank in five years.
Modeled after the Bank of North Dakota (BND)— America’s only public bank, established in the early 20th century to help farmers devastated by ecological changes—the proposed San Francisco municipal bank would provide low interest business and student loans by collateralizing existing credit union loans. This would allow business owners or workers of the city the capital needed to stay solvent despite mass business closures and layoffs.