Wall Street banks are failing us.
Consumers continue to be victimized by predatory lending and millions of fake bank accounts opened in their names; small businesses haven’t been able to access capital; homeowners still suffer from the aftermath of the mortgage foreclosure crisis; a generation of young people are drowning under student loan debt.
Wall Street banks also invest our savings in industries most of us oppose - the oil industry, gun manufacturers, private prisons, companies that mistreat workers. Our local governments have had no choice but to put hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars in these banks.
That’s why our new bill, AB 857, would give a local government the ability to charter a public bank that would invest in our own communities.
We need another option to the current status quo. Middle- and low-income Californians who today can’t afford a high-interest loan from a major bank would get fairer treatment from a public bank in their own backyard, and everyone would see the positive effects of a public bank’s investment in public projects that match up with our values.
By paving the way for locally-chartered public banks, we are going toe to toe with some very powerful interests, at a time when Wall Street banks are enjoying soaring profitability. But I’m ready for a tough fight if it means the public’s money is used for the public good.