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Sacramento Needs a Public Bank!

The creation of a public bank is a social justice project & movement

Creating a public bank would enable Sacramento residents to have ownership of that bank, determine the bank's investment priorities, and use funds to meet critical climate, housing, local business, social and infrastructure demands.​


Right now we are paying interest to keep public money in private banks. This money, taken in from taxes & fees, is being managed on our behalf in private banks (in our case that bank is Chase) that are speculative and devoted to “maximizing shareholder value”. Public banks are not speculative, and they have plans & rules to stay solvent.


Think global, act local.

We can create a public bank locally, with the resulting global impact being divesting from Chase bank - the world's largest funder of fossil fuels. Creating a public bank will make local institutions & our financial structure even stronger.


----- GET INVOLVED -----

  • Learn more about public banks, read the resource booklet, read & download one-pagers, and this trifold on public banking (resources provided by the California Public Banking Alliance - CPBA)

  • Read more specifically about the Sacramento public bank project on the CPBA's website

    • Check out this trifold on public banking as it applies to Sacramento

  • Sign the petition & send a letter advocating for a public bank in Sacramento

  • If you belong to an org, sign the resolution & request for the public bank coalition to come speak to your org about the importance of this movement

  • Use this toolkit to contact your local elected official in support of the public bank project

    • Find your local representative

  • Organizations can join the coalition pushing this effort by reaching out to the Sacramento Climate Coalition at: info@sacclimate.org

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Graphic pulled from the resource booklet mentioned above

What does this effort look like in Sacramento?

The Sacramento Public Bank project was started in 2022 by the Sacramento Climate Coalition, Sacramento Area Congregations Together (Sac ACT) and others to generate the funds needed to help solve the intersecting crises of climate change, lack of affordable housing, climate injustice and the persistent scourge of Wall Street banks’ funding of fossil fuels, guns, and private prisons.


Their efforts so far have led them to work with Sacramento City's Banking Manager, the Treasurer, and Councilmember Katie Valenzuela to bring a proposal to the budget committee to authorize funding for a business plan for the Public Bank. The above three, as well as other councilmembers are supportive! As an interim step the coalition members plan to form a Green Bank which could be capitalized by the $20 billion earmarked for green banks by the IRA's Green House Gas Reduction Act.


The proposal (pictured below) was brought before the Sac City Budget & Audit Committee (for the third time) on 5/30/23 where $250,000 (the full amount requested) of funding for the next phase of the project was approved.


This item passing initiates the process of hiring a consultant to look into the feasibility of a public bank in Sacramento! This is a win! Special thanks to the Sac City Banking Manager, Treasurer, and Councilmembers Valenzuela and Vang for their support!



SJPC be monitoring this process and continuing to provide updates!


Keep reading for a deeper dive into what a public bank is!!

*All the following information has been pulled from the California Public Banking Alliance website - FAQ list here


What is a public bank?

Public banks are government-owned financial institutions that operate with the goal of serving the needs of their local community. They offer a range of services, such as lending for affordable housing, small business financing, and infrastructure development, that are tailored to meet the specific needs of the community.

Unlike private banks, whose primary focus is on maximizing profits for shareholders, public banks prioritize the public good and supporting the community

This allows them to use their resources, such as deposits and lending capabilities, to benefit local residents and businesses rather than prioritizing profits for private shareholders. This focus on serving the community allows public banks to play a vital role in promoting economic and social well-being in their regions.


Check out the Bank of North Dakota - the only public bank in the U.S. & an institution that has consistently supported the community in beneficial ways!

Public banks are lending and depository institutions owned by a local agency, such as a city or county, that serve a non-profit public purpose and are governed by a mandate responsive to local needs.


These banks leverage their deposit base and lending power to benefit residents with affordable housing, small business loans, modernization of public infrastructure, and other community needs.


They differ from traditional financial institutions in that they prioritize serving the needs of the communities they are accountable to, rather than maximizing profits for private shareholders.


California public banks will provide municipal governments with cost-effective depository services and cash management while also supplying funding that supplements government spending.

This frees up money for crucial services and reduces the billions of dollars in interest payments that local governments currently pay to private banks, many of which continue to profit during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic

By accepting deposits and handling banking services for local governments and agencies, California public banks also enable these institutions to move their money away from private megabanks that finance activities such as fossil fuel projects, which many cities and counties have voted to divest from. The result is more customized service at a lower cost, while keeping our money local and aligning with our values.


Benefits of a public bank:
  • Keeps public money invested within the local community

  • Returns a significant portion of profits and interest to local residents and businesses

  • Aligns with community values and prioritizes investments in community-identified projects

  • Significantly reduces the cost of infrastructure creation and repair by half, making funds available for affordable housing, climate change infrastructure, and other pressing needs such as repairing crumbling streets and building parks and schools

  • Promotes transparency and democratic control in the management of public funds

  • Leverages the bank's resources to increase local lending and meet community needs in partnership with local financial institutions such as community banks, credit unions, and CDFIs

  • Supports local banks and credit unions by backing their loans and letters of credit

  • Establishes a long-term source of capital that benefits current and future generations of residents and businesses

A public bank has the ability to lend up to ten times the amount of capital it holds, allowing it to start making loans as soon as it opens its doors. The charter, directors, and management of California public banks will be chosen with a focus on a triple bottom line philosophy, which prioritizes preserving the capital of government depositors, meeting the needs of residents, and protecting the environment.


One more plug for getting involved!

  • Learn more about public banks, read the resource booklet, read & download one-pagers, and this trifold on public banking (resources provided by the California Public Banking Alliance - CPBA)

  • Read more specifically about the Sacramento public bank on the CPBA's website

    • Check out this trifold on public banking as it applies to Sacramento

  • Sign the petition & send a letter advocating for a public bank in Sacramento

  • If you belong to an org, sign the resolution & request for the public bank coalition to come speak to your org about the importance of this movement

  • Use this toolkit to contact your local elected official in support of the public bank project

    • Find your local representative

  • Organizations can join the coalition pushing this effort by reaching out to the Sacramento Climate Coalition at: info@sacclimate.org

Stay tuned for updates and calls to action!

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