Please Sign our Petition!
With local and state budgets strained by health and economic crises, we ask our legislators to help municipalities across Oregon harness proven tools to stretch our tax dollars and create economic stability in our communities. (Click arrows > for details)
We support the creation of public banks in Oregon!
Public banks operate according to their community-developed charter. By partnering with local community banks and credit unions, they can facilitate low interest loans that benefit the community, including to local businesses, farmers, and homebuyers as well as to nonprofits and public agencies for affordable housing, economic development and public infrastructure. With a bank’s ability to make loans several times its capital, a public bank multiplies the funds available for public services and projects, and with lower interest rates it can cut the costs of infrastructure projects in half — helping local government accomplish more with less.
Currently, Oregon cities, towns and school districts lose over $700 million annually to Wells Fargo and US Bank’s wealthy out-of-state shareholders and executives every year, money that could be reinvested locally if cities in Oregon form public banks. A public project’s cost can double due to the fees and interest payments to these big banks. Municipal banks will finance public projects with lower fees and interest. Plus, a public bank’s net revenues can be reinvested in the community, instead of going towards corporate profits.
While a public bank is not a for-profit, commercial bank, it is still run by banking professionals, not by politicians. Its purpose is to support local community banks and credit unions in making loans at lower interest rates than out-of-state for-profit banks, and all the money stays in Oregon! Public banks would strengthen community banks and credit unions by helping them with their liquidity and participating in low-interest loans to students, farmers, home-buyers and local businesses, particularly historically under-banked BIPOC- and women-owned businesses. A public bank could also help fight climate change by facilitating sustainable infrastructure.
The public Bank of North Dakota is over 100 years old and pumps millions of dollars back into its state’s coffers. It has helped communities and business across their state weather numerous recessions. During the Great Depression, when other banks were foreclosing on families and farms, the Bank of North Dakota worked with farmers to help them keep them on their land, or in cases of foreclosure actually worked with farmers to sell their land back to them when the economy improved. That’s because public banks are chartered to serve the economic wellbeing of their communities, not shareholders.
Every part of the state can benefit from public banks because they will enable municipalities to borrow money and bond money without paying millions of dollars in interest and fees to for-profit banks. Cities could build much needed housing, and/or install fiber-optic cable into rural areas needing high-speed internet, etc. Rather than lining the pockets of Wall Street investors, the money made in a local public bank will be reinvested in the community with the communities’ interest in mind.
During this time of economic woe and budget shortfalls, public banks represent a tremendous opportunity to add a vibrant tool for economic stability and resilience to our banking system with community-focused, locally-controlled public banks that allow cities and counties to put all of our public dollars to work for the benefit of our communities.