LA COULD BECOME THE FIRST CITY IN THE COUNTRY TO OPEN UP ITS OWN BANK

Following the passage of a new state bill, local public banking advocates say they plan to make Los Angeles the first city in the country to establish its own bank.

They got the support of L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson on Monday. Wesson said he plans to introduce a motion this week to begin the process of recruiting a banking expert who would advise the city on creating a public bank.

These moves follow Gov. Gavin Newsom’s approval last week of a bill allowing local governments to establish public banks. Newsom’s signature makes California the only state aside from North Dakota to permit government-run banks.

Wesson acknowledged it could take years before a public bank would actually be up and running in the city. But he said he wanted to “put in place the foundation as quickly as possible.”

“We are almost there, but we’re not there yet,” Wesson said. “With this motion that I’m introducing, I think we will move this ball further down the court.”

Advocates want L.A. to withdraw its deposits from commercial banks like Wells Fargo and put them into a new, publicly owned financial institution. They argue a public bank could fund projects like affordable housing and green infrastructure at lower interest rates and without concern for maximizing profits or shareholder returns.

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