Banks attempt to stop Colorado initiative to create a state bank

Denver, CO, Wednesday, May 9th, 2012—The Colorado Bankers Association and the Independent Bankers of Colorado, through their respective CEOs as “registered voters”, have petitioned the Colorado Supreme Court to reverse the action of the Ballot Title Setting Board of Colorado concerning the approval of two initiatives designed (1) to create a publicly owned bank operated by the State of Colorado, and (2) to allow political subdivisions of the state—including cities, counties, and other taxing authorities—to create banks to leverage their tax receipts in the public interest.

The banks’ Petition for Review asks the Supreme Court to rule that the title board lacked jurisdiction, listing various objections to the manner in which the Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly and the title board of the Secretary of State’s office approved the two initiatives. Regardless of the validity of the banks’ claims, which the title board rejected twice, their petition serves to delay the petition gathering process aimed at placing these initiatives on the ballot.

Presently, the State of Colorado deposits its revenues and funds in various private banks, some owned by out-of-state and foreign interests and some owned by in-state interests. The funds are used by these banks to invest, mostly outside Colorado, in various instruments, some speculative and some at odds with the interests of Colorado taxpayers, including derivatives such as collateralized mortgages and food futures, as well as companies that compete with Colorado corporations.

Following the economic collapse caused by such banking practices, legislation has been introduced in 18 states since 2010, including this effort in Colorado, to create state banks or study the feasibility of such. In each case, the private banking lobby has derailed these efforts. Nevertheless, such efforts continue to spring up with increasing regularity, including at the municipal and county levels. If the required 86,105 signed petitions supporting the Colorado initiative are obtained by August 6, it will allow voters to decide the issue directly this November.

The Public Banking Institute is an educational non-profit organization. Its mission is to further the understanding, explore the possibilities, and facilitate the implementation of public banking at all levels—local, regional, state, and national.