Public banks can help make real climate progress. Why is there only one in the U.S.?
Paige Curtis is a Boston organizer with the Massachusetts Public Banking Coalition and a climate writer. Her work has appeared on Vox, GreenBiz, and Yes!.
Throughout the country, states from New York to California are moving to establish state-owned public banks that would serve the public. This is good news for climate justice.
Public banks are funded by a proportion of state tax revenue and mandated by their bank charter to provide flexible, low-cost, and sustainable lending to small businesses, farmers, and nonprofits that traditionally have been excluded from conventional lending. Unlike commercial banks, public banks aren’t beholden to shareholders and aren’t for personal banking; you can’t make deposits there. Instead, imagine a piggy bank that a state (or city) deposits its savings into and uses to dole out low-interest loans, funding projects that serve the public.
There are more than 900 of these institutions globally. But there’s only one in the United States, the Bank of North Dakota, which has a century-long track record of local investments and supporting small businesses and farmers.
While ma... Read more