Our mission is to support the growth of public banking in Massachusetts, initially focusing on a public bank serving Boston and the greater Boston area. We envision a public institution managed professionally, guided by strong citizen oversight, and accountable to the public as its only stockholders. The bank will have flexibility to support current community needs and foster resilience in the face of economic and natural hardships. We promote a bank that works in partnership with local banks, credit unions and community development financial institutions to make loans in our local communities.
Why a public bank? Over past decades, investor-owned banks have put their own gain before the well-being of the people and businesses they serve and the cities in which they operate. The result has been a tightening of credit just when greater Boston’s small and medium-sized businesses, homeowners, and public projects need it most. Instead, short-term profits have been sought in stocks, derivatives and other speculative investments. Likewise, high-end development proposals have been favored instead of affordable housing, infrastructure improvements, and business expansions which create local employment opportunities. Our cities and towns require a public service bank that lends at affordable rates rather than at higher rates and fees that support short-term investor profit and excessive executive pay and bonuses. We need a bank that reduces the cost of public projects because its participating municipalities will not charge themselves high interest and finance fees. We need a bank whose profits are returned to municipal coffers thereby raising revenue and protecting government services from budget cuts. Such a bank would also protect public money and pensions from risky Wall St. investments. A public bank working in partnership with community banks ensures that local money works locally and stays local supporting development and businesses that build up our neighborhoods and increase our “common wealth.”
How would a public bank be structured? A public bank would receive on deposit all government revenues including taxes and fees. The bank would pay each member government’s obligations. Based on its capitalization and deposit base, the bank would lend proportionately in each of its member communities. It makes these loans in partnership with community banks which qualify borrowers and keep loan origination fees. Because it does not operate as a retail bank taking in deposits from individuals and businesses, the public bank is not in competition with local community banks. The public bank will use the latest technology to balance the needs of participating communities and to efficiently, transparently, and securely carry out its democratic mandate.
We work with the national Public Banking Institute, and seek to work with other community banking organizations, as well as other community-minded people and groups, in and beyond Massachusetts. Public banking is an idea whose time has come and one from which we all stand to gain. We welcome your participation in making it happen.
How can you help? Currently, we’re recruiting individuals with strong backgrounds in banking, public administration, economics or community development to serve on an advisory committee for our group. We also welcome invitations to speak to community, civic, and business groups. To get in touch with us, fill out our contact form or phone 617-415-1445. We also welcome questions about our work and public banking in general—explore our site and check back as we post more information, or send us your questions and ideas.