Group of experts developing a business plan for SF Public Bank


The proposal to create a public bank for San Francisco, to provide an alternative to the big banks for the city’s investment and lending needs, is gradually moving from concept to reality. A group of experts in relevant fields, from finance to affordable housing, were selected to begin designing a business plan for a public bank. Fernando Martí, co-director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations, and Sylvia Chi, co-lead author of AB 857, California’s Public Banking Act and member of the California Public Banking Alliance, spoke with “Civic” about how a bank government would work – including how it would be managed and how it could help the development of affordable housing – and how long it could take before such a financial institution was established.

“It is not your supervisory board that sits as the bank’s board of directors. Part of our job is to develop the governance structure, and that will include determining who will actually sit on the board of directors of the bank. Who are they going to report to and how do we make sure that the members of this board are free from any conflicts of interest or apparent conflicts of interest? We’re going to make sure bank governance is something people trust. ”

– Sylvie Chi

“Right now, part of the funding for affordable housing is through loans from traditional banks. And these loans are not necessarily given because traditional banks like to invest and lend in affordable housing, but because we have laws in place – the Community Reinvestment Act – that requires banks to make this type of loan. However, these are the same banks that invest in fossil fuels; invest in, or have connections with, payday lending institutions, all kinds of bad actors. And so the city’s investments, whether in affordable housing or whatever, are now tied into all of these things that at the same time we are passing resolutions and saying that we as a city are not supporting these. things.

– Fernando Marti

A segment of our radio and podcast show, “Civic. Listen daily at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 102.5 FM in San Francisco, and subscribe on Apple, Google, Spotify Where Stapler.


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