Who we are

The California Public Banking Alliance (CPBA) is a coalition of public banking activists founded in 2018 to advance socially and environmentally responsible public banks in California. Advocates throughout the state worked together to write and pass the California Public Banking Act (AB 857) in 2019. This legislation made California the first state in the nation to authorize the chartering of municipal public banks.

The CPBA passed a second public banking bill, the California Public Banking Option Act (AB 1177), also known as CalAccount, in 2021, with the aim of providing universal banking access for all Californians.

Public banking serves as a powerful tool to keep taxpayer dollars in local communities.  

Cities and counties currently hold billions of dollars of public money in Wall Street banks. Legally, these corporate banks control this money and can use it for strictly profit-motivated purposes, without regard for environmental impacts, social good, or betterment of the local economy that provided the funds. Their investments prioritize harmful industries such as fossil fuels that place profit over small local businesses, regional infrastructure, and care for the planet. 
The California Public Banking Act (AB 857) is the law that permits cities and counties to form their own banks. With the legal framework for public banks now established in California, we now have the opportunity to build a new alternative banking system through locally-controlled socially and environmentally responsible public banks, enabling cities and counties to recapture public dollars and have a say over the financing of our own communities.

Divest from Wall Street, Invest in Communities

Public banks enable our state and local treasuries to divest public funds from fossil fuel and pipeline investments and invest using socially responsible standards favoring social justice, racial and economic equity, and environmental protection. 

Cut Infrastructure Costs Dramatically

Public banks can provide funding for public infrastructure, and housing for low-income and the unhoused at low interest rates. Public banks allow for greater planning and coordination of local investment to meet community needs. 

Save Money

Public banks provide a means of expanding municipal revenue without increasing taxes. Profits made from loans can be returned to the General Fund. Public banks operate with very low overhead: no advertising, no ATMs, no huge salaries or bonuses, and no branches because local community banks serve as their front offices.

Reflects Community Values

The municipal bank model holds the potential to improve many areas that directly impact our communities including: low-income housing, small business development, infrastructure and energy, and serving the needs of unbanked and underbanked populations.

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