Public Banking Works is ...

​The founders of Commonomics USA also helped found the Public Banking Institute. We provide public policy expertise on public banking, postal banking, cooperative economics, and other matters involving public finance. Our projects include the Cost of Wall Street GIS Mapping Project, Public Banking Workshops, and the Campaign for Postal Banking.

What is Public Banking?

​​A public bank is a simple and proven concept. It is essentially a nonprofit organization, owned by the government and chartered by the state to accept deposits and make loans. Many people don't realize this, but governments are already in the lending business -- most have a portfolio of loans (provided to small business, farmers/ranchers, homeowners, etc.) scattered among different governmental organizations. A public bank will consolidate these loans and serve as a way to fund them with a lower cost of money. For example, the North Dakota Treasurer places all tax and fee revenue in the ND state bank and uses the credit to provide low cost funding for consolidation of student loans, housing and other infrastructure, commercial loans, and projects that generate cash but are not included in government budgets.

Campaign Overview

The Public Banking Works campaign is primarily focused on California and includes the charter cities of Oakland and Santa Rosa. Resolving the lack of banking services provided to the cannabis industry is a priority, as is ensuring that affordable credit is extended to small businesses, students and infrastructure projects. 

Educational Memo on Cannabis

Oakland City Council

Read about the historical legal status of public banks and how their protected status may impact the issue involving lack of banking services provided to cannabis businesses in California. Now includes FAQ.
NCPB_Memo_FAQ (1).pdf
click to download
Read about our response to the discussion of public banking at California Treasurer John Chiang's Cannabis Banking Working Group.
click to download

North Coast Public Banking Working Group

Hello! Welcome to the North Coast Public Banking Working Group. We meet by conference call on 1/27, 2/24, 3/24, 4/28, 5/26, and 6/23. In-person meetings are at noon PST at the Arlene Francis Center at 99 6th St in Santa Rosa. and are held the third Friday of every month.
Oakland City Council unanimously passed Councilmember Kaplan’s Resolution calling for the City Administrator to look into the process of establishing a public bank for the City of Oakland.

Please click here to read the Resolution and accompanying Memo


​The Resolution, co-sponsored by Councilmembers Kaplan, Kalb, and Guillen, directs the City Administrator to look into the scope and cost of conducting a feasibility study for public banking in Oakland and possibly the larger region. It also directs City Staff to solicit input from community stakeholders about the feasibility study, including suggestions of potential contractors and funding sources; and makes it clear that the study should cover the legality and feasibility of banking the cannabis industry.

​Public Banking Action Corner:

Please Click, Sign & Share!

Mar 27, 2017
"Banks and states can rely" on Cole and FinCen memos, even in Trump era, according to former DOJ official at #Cannabis Banking Working Group
Mar 27, 2017
At Working Group, former DOJ official testifying that federal-state interplay reflected in Cole and FinCen memos are "best of both worlds."
Mar 27, 2017
The sole problem is the unwillingness of private banks to take cannabis revenue. That unwillingness is the source of all the security probs.
Mar 27, 2017
The consensus of everyone at the #Cannabis Banking Working Group is that dispensaries are law-abiding and want law-abiding communities.
Mar 27, 2017
#Oakland reports #cannabis businesses paying taxes w/ "backpacks full of cash" because banks won't take money. #publicbanking is solution.
Santa Rosa draft petition here.