Today the California State Legislature approved landmark legislation guaranteeing universal free banking access to all Californians. AB 1177 sets into motion the creation of the CalAccount program guaranteeing all California residents access to basic banking services without fees or penalties. The California Public Banking Option Act addresses the inequities in financial services acutely felt by communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic and recession, inequalities such as discrimination, predatory lending, and vicious spirals of debt.

Californians are demanding banking reform because Wall Street banks have historically failed low-income communities of color. The State Legislature’s approval of AB 1177…


Senator Mike McGuire, Chair of the Governance and Finance Committee and Senator Steven Bradford, Chair of Banking and Financial Institutions Committee at the State Public Bank hearing.

California State Senators Mike McGuire and Steven Bradford took a bold step toward establishing a state public bank on November 23, 2020 by chairing a joint hearing with the Governance and Finance, and Banking and Financial Institutions Committees. The Senators unleashed testimony from a wide range of financial professionals and community activists supporting legislation for a state public bank.

The State Public Bank’s coauthor, Assemblymember Miguel Santiago stated the urgency of financial transformation for COVID-19 recovery by emphasizing “the need to reimagine a financial system that puts the public good before profit.” His appeal for California’s financial sovereignty was reinforced…


First Bank of the United States (1797–1811), Stephen Girard’s Bank (May, 1811–1831), subsequent banks, and owned since 1955 by the National Park Service.

America faces a perfect storm of ever-escalating crises which are culminating in a central crisis of democracy itself. We are wholly unprepared for this crisis, because our institutions are failing. From the justice system to the Presidency to Wall Street, Americans are wondering what actually works, and who led us to this situation in the first place. How can we repair the shell-shocked economy and reverse climate change, when politicians and their wealthy donors are steadfast to resist all change that would threaten their bottom lines, even if it ensures the end of life on Earth?

Under their watch, the…


Reinvest, Rebuild and Recover from COVID-19

By Brett Garrett, Rick Girling, Susan Harman, Debbie Notkin, Trinity Tran

Organizers of the California Public Banking Alliance.

Public banking took a gigantic step forward on Monday as the Senate Governance and Finance Committee under Chair Senator Mike McGuire heard informational testimony for AB 310, which will establish the California state public bank to address the catastrophic economic consequences of COVID-19. This historic hearing confirmed that Treasurer Fiona Ma and Controller Betty Yee will work closely with the California Public Banking Alliance (CPBA) and legislative authors Assemblymembers Miguel Santiago (D-L.A.) and David Chiu (D-S.F.) in the coming months. …

California Public Banking Alliance

CPBA is a coalition of public banking activists in California working to create socially and environmentally responsible city and regional public banks.

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