Oakland Plans for Publicly Owned Bank, Thursday, Feb. 9


Oakland residents are showing growing interest in in a plan to establish a public bank, which would provide an alternative to handing millions of dollars of city money to Wall Street each year.


Residents have been studying the idea and organizing support for it for a number years. Now, Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan has embraced the concept, and she is hosting a forum to discuss the benefits of creating a publically owned bank in Oakland, Thursday, Feb. 9, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. in Hearing Room 3 at Oakland City Hall.


Also hosting the forum are Councilmembers Abel Guillen and Dan Kalb.


“We getting the feeling that there is so much interest that the room won’t hold all those who will show up,” said Susan Harman, Friends of the Public Bank of Oakland.


“Under present conditions in the county, cities will be forced more to fend themselves. They are likely not to be able to depend on the federal government and the current administration,” she said. “A public bank will be a new economic support for the city and its values.”


“This bank is about democratizing money.”


Presenters at the forum will be Marc Armstrong, co-founder and past President of the Public Banking Institute, and co-founder and president of Commonomics USA;


Tom Sgouros, author of “Checking the Banks: The Nuts and Bolts of Banking for People Who Want to Fix It,” and senior policy advisor to the Rhode Island Treasurer;


Nichoe Lichen, member of Santa Fe’s, Brass Tacks Team “public banking facts that stick,” and board member of the Public Banking Institute; and


Henry Wykowski, past prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Northern California, currently Harborside Health Center’s lead attorney, speaking on cannabis law as it relates to public banking.


Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín also will be on the panel.


The Oakland bank, in which other cities could participate, would be a wholesale bank.


That is, it would not have ATMs, tellers or make loans to individuals but would partner with community banks and back them up so they could provide more services to individuals, said Harman.


“Partnering with community banks is another way to keep money local and not send it off to Wall Street,” Harman said.


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