LA PUBLIC BANK: EMPOWERING WORKER-OWNED CO-OPS AND DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE

We’re excited to announce two new briefings in the joint series on the Los Angeles public bank by the Jain Family Institute (JFI) and the Berggruen Institute. This latest briefing focuses on lending programs aimed at promoting financial justice and community wealth.

“Building Community Wealth: Financing Employee Ownership through a Los Angeles Public Bank” explores how the LA public bank can help employees purchase retiring owners’ small businesses. Given the anticipated “silver tsunami” that will see over 360,000 California small business owners retire by 2030, there is a remarkable opportunity to foster employee ownership and safeguard the survival of small businesses across the state.

The Los Angeles public bank could support the transition of 1,500 workers into shared business ownership within ten years, effectively revitalizing an underserved lending market that Wall Street and commercial banks often overlook. The briefing emphasizes the positive impact on wages, job stability, and wealth creation for employees and local communities in Los Angeles.

The financial justice report explores possibilities for the bank to provide lower-cost student debt and free banking services to Angelenos through partnerships with local financial institutions. This holds great potential for improving accessibility and advancing equity in the financial landscape of Los Angeles.

Read the full briefing here.

In the second briefing, JFI and the Berggruen Institute explore democratic governance. This report presents an innovative vision for a governance structure that incorporates citizen input through deliberative democracy, utilizing randomly-selected citizen panels. Within this framework, diverse boards take on responsibilities including decision-making, research, oversight, and representation of historically underrepresented groups.

“Democratic Governance Frameworks” sheds light on the vital role of public participation in shaping the governance of a public financial institution. By exploring various contexts, it highlights the urgent necessity for citizen involvement in determining city investment priorities. Part 2 of the Los Angeles public bank series emphasizes the importance of citizen engagement in investment decision-making and explores principles that can be extended to empower citizen participation across the entire economy.

Read the full briefing here.

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