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Should New York establish it’s own public banks? Advocates say ‘yes’

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  • Staff Report 

New York-based advocacy organizations are urging state lawmakers to pass a measure that would establish public banks, citing the recent failures of financial institutions like Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank as the driving force behind the initiative. In a letter addressed to state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the coalition of groups supporting the measure called for the creation of a safe and appropriate regulatory framework for public banks.

The New York Public Banking Act aims to serve the public interest by allowing local governments to create financial institutions. The coalition argues that passing the bill would demonstrate the legislature’s commitment to addressing inequalities in the financial system and economy while promoting stability in New York’s banking sector. The public banking measure has faced delays in the state Legislature for several years.

The proposed public banking plan seeks to support low-income communities, with the charters of publicly held banks specifically outlining goals related to promoting racial justice and community-backed development. The recent failures of California’s Silicon Valley Bank and New York’s Signature Bank have raised concerns over the broader stability of the national banking system.

The push for the public bank measure coincides with ongoing negotiations between lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul on a $227 billion spending plan, which is due by April 1.