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America is not broke!
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Return to prosperity

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The Benefits of a Public Bank for New York State; the Derivatives explosion (nominal value of $1.2 quadrillion); The joint FDIC-Bank of England Proposal to forcibly swap deposits (incl. state deposits) for equity in a failing bank; The Public Banking model based on the Bank of North Dakota; The specific state bill for New York state; What the Fed can and can't (or won't) do to save municipalities

The Benefits of a Public Bank for New York State; the Derivatives explosion (nominal value of $1.2 quadrillion); The joint FDIC-Bank of England Proposal to forcibly swap deposits (incl. state deposits) for equity in a failing bank; The Public Banking model based on the Bank of North Dakota; The specific state bill for New York state; What the Fed can and can't (or won't) do to save municipalities


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Return to prosperity

  1. 1. Presented by: To: Date: Scott Baker, NY State Coordinator, Public Banking Institute SSBAKER305@YAHOO.COM SYMPOSIUM ON PUBLIC BANKING December 14, 2014
  2. 2. “We don’t have the money!” An all too familiar refrain. Options have been limited to: • Cut spending • Raise taxes • Sell off public assets This argument is getting old!
  3. 3. Federal Option is off the table. In January 2009, President Obama said the Fed might bail out hard-hit state and municipal governments. But the Fed says they are on their own. Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2011: “We have no expectation or intention to get involved in state and local finance,” Mr. Bernanke said in testimony before the Senate Budget Committee. The states, he said later, “should not expect loans from the Fed.“
  4. 4. Federal Option is off the table NO RESCUE FOR YOU! $191B would Rescue all the states… $16T has gone to the banks - 2012 audit of the Federal Reserve
  5. 5. “We don’t have the money!” Solutions have been limited to: • Cutting spending • Raising taxes • Selling off public assets No federal rescue. But now, there’s a new option: • Invest in our own citizens The public can own its own bank!
  6. 6. Community banks (Interest) Dividends & Local Needs
  7. 7. A typical Systemically Important Financial Institution (SIFI) like JP Morgan has just a 31% Loan to Asset ratio – less than ½ of ND’s community banks. SIFIs don’t make most of their money by making loans!
  8. 8. The States with the Most Community Banks Generally have the fewest Foreclosures…and Vice Versa Foreclosure Rates for the U.S. January 2014 U.S.: 1 in every 1058 Worst 5 States: Florida: 1 in every 346 Nevada: 1 in every 533 Maryland: 1 in every 543 Illinois: 1 in every 603 New Jersey: 1 in every 619 Best 5 States: North Dakota: 1 in 106,489 Vermont: 1 in 26,854 Mississippi: 1 in 13,851 Nebraska: 1 in 12,654 Montana: 1 in 10,698
  9. 9. Small Banks are Disappearing
  10. 10. The Big Banks get Bigger…but do not increase their Percentage of Loans to the Community
  11. 11. Small Banks’ Share of Assets Continues to Decline "Fifteen years ago, the assets of the six largest banks in this country totaled 17 percent of GDP…The assets of the six largest banks in the United States today total 63 percent of GDP.” Senator Sherrod Brown on Sunday, April 25th, 2010 in an interview on ABC’s "This Week.”  The largest 25 domestically chartered banks in the country control about two-thirds of all the assets held by domestically chartered banks.  There were 2,118 U.S. banks with less than $100 million of assets at Sept. 30, 2013, down from more than 3,000 at the end of 2008 - FDIC
  12. 12. And what do these Big Banks do with the Bulk of their Assets?
  13. 13. The biggest banks are now even bigger than ever. Are they still Too Big To Fail…or will they actually Fail next time? The operations of the TBTF banks have been compared to a Casino, but this is unfair…to Casinos! In a Casino, you have consistent rules, and if you go bust, you don’t get bailed out, you get thrown out.
  14. 14. New option: Create a state-owned bank North Dakota owns its own bank – and therefore it creates its own credit. As a result, North Dakota’s options are to: • Expand public services • Lower taxes • Increase their bank’s capital, to make even more credit available to the people of North Dakota No need for a federal rescue.
  15. 15. The North Dakota experience: • State-owned bank established 1919 • State budget surpluses 2008-2009 • Lowest unemployment in U.S. • Lowest foreclosure rate • The most local banks per capita • No bank failures in over 20 years* • Bank funds economic growth, from Main Street to high tech to oil production * Proper risk analysis should include more than that for the Public Bank itself. North Dakota has had no bank failures in over 20 years, while there were 517 bank failures through the end of Sept, 2013 nationwide since 2000, says the cash-strapped FDIC, which has to pick up the pieces.
  16. 16. Profit the People • The Bank of North Dakota (BND) earns 20+% annual return on equity by investing within the state. • BND’s profits ($300M over 10 years) go to the state treasury, reducing tax burdens while supporting public services. Why are our tax dollars supporting Wall Street? Why not invest in-state? For education? Higher education? Renewable energy? Tech startups? Infrastructure?
  17. 17. Rating and Staffing: Learning from the Bank of North Dakota • Standard & Poor's (S&P) maintained Bank of North Dakota's (BND) credit ratings in its latest review of the Bank released July 23, 2013. Its long-term issuer credit rating remained "AA-" and its short-term issuer credit rating to "A-1+” • What about “key man” risk? What is the risk of key executives leaving and what does that portend for the safety of the bank? Maybe this is an over-rated fear. While Jamie Dimon makes millions running JP Morgan Chase, the president of the Bank of North Dakota – a Civil Servant - earns about $300 thousand a year. Which is the safer, better-run bank? JP Morgan recently paid over $20 billion in fines for multiple Civil violations (not criminal…so far). The BND has never been found guilty of securities or bank fraud. What are we paying for?
  18. 18. Invest in Our Own Citizens Meanwhile, public pension funds in most states have lost billions of dollars. What if these funds were used to own a state bank? And invested in their own citizens, as North Dakota does?
  19. 19. What are Our Assets Right Now? Check the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports…  $181 billion in NY State Fiduciary Net Position (March 31, 2014, p. 44)*  $192 Billion in NY City Fiduciary Net Position (June 30, 2014, p. 52)*  ~$135m in Orange County total Net Gov’t Fund balances (Dec. 31, 2013)*  There are 10s of billions in other NY liquid funds too * Does not include fixed capital What if 10% of these liquid funds were reallocated to a Public Bank?** OK, these assets are not quite a Money Tree, but they are money that can be loaned into the community, often with higher expectations of return than investments on Wall Street. Remember: it is not under-funding that hurts pension fund reliability, it is under-performance and volatility. ** By comparison, the Bank of North Dakota has $6.9B in assets (2014 FS)
  20. 20. Other Municipalities are Investigating Alternate Investment strategies  20 bills in 15 States* considering some form of State Banking Legislation – and many municipalities are too. Many of these proposals look to fund a Public Bank with State and city funds. • By law, all taxes from North Dakota and the Chickasaw Indian Nation in Oklahoma, go first to these regions’ Public Banks. • Philadelphia, PA & Santa Fe, NM are considering Public Banks. Existing Public Banks in Green: North Dakota: Bank of North Dakota Oklahoma: Chickasaw-owned Bank2 of Oklahoma City. Is it a better local fiscal solution to reallocate some existing funds into a Public Bank? * - citing the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), last updated Jan 16, 2013
  21. 21. Free up Funds • Banks have unlimited low-interest credit lines with the Fed • States and municipal governments have no credit line with the Fed So they must create large “rainy day funds”— public money that sits, earning little interest.
  22. 22. Level the Playing Field Federal law and the banking system give banks huge advantages and place states at a financial disadvantage. •Banks borrow at rates as low as 0.2% (overnight Fed funds rate) to 1.27% (6-month CD) •States borrow at much higher rates Our state is paying too much for credit. •Banks face new regulatory & compliance issues with Dodd-Frank. A State Public Bank could help community banks comply.
  23. 23. Control Rising Credit Costs • States are now hit with lower credit ratings, making borrowing even more expensive • A year ago, California was rated BBB, barely higher than bankrupt Greece What is OUR state’s credit rating? New York’s rating is AA+ to AA– (2013)
  24. 24. Urgent Need: Affordable Credit What about municipal governments? Don’t they borrow by issuing bonds? Yes, at “market rates”— but these rates are being driven up, increasing the cost of money. The issue is not just available credit, but affordable credit.
  25. 25. What Can Be Done?
  26. 26. Today, state and local governments are: • Investing their capital (pension funds), and • Depositing their tax revenues (our money!) on Wall Street Translation: They are handing over their huge credit generating power to the same big banks that got us into this mess in the first place. They are investing in Wall Street, not Main Street. Does this make sense to you?
  27. 27. Banking in the Public Interest Deposits begin the creation of credit in a bank. This credit is an asset of the bank. If a state deposits funds in a Wall Street bank, it is giving away its power to create credit. This credit rightfully belongs to the public, not to private banks. Our state and cities should be managing that credit in a public bank—serving the public interest by investing in our own Main Street.
  28. 28. Invest in Main Street Through a Public Bank • Keeps our tax money working within the state, city, or borough • Keeps our credit from leaving the state, city, or borough • Strengthens our community banks • Demonstrates that our elected officials are working for us and not for Wall Street • Helps our communities return to prosperity in a nonpartisan way
  29. 29. Recap: Solution Choices • Raise taxes • Cut services • Sell assets • Invest in our own citizens by creating a public bank There are no other choices. Will we continue having our tax payments sent to Wall Street banks?
  30. 30. Next Steps Refine and pass a resolution: “Return to prosperity by forming a state-owned bank.” Tell your state representative that keeping tax revenues in our state is vital—an urgent need. Find “natural allies” to speak with one voice for public banking in the public interest.
  31. 31. Natural Allies • Community leaders whose budgets are being gutted by the state • Enlightened legislators • Enlightened Media & Reporters • Public employees and unions faced with state and city budget cuts: teachers, firefighters, construction workers, etc. • Community bankers wanting to originate loans • Unemployed and under-employed people • Small business owners burdened by high credit card APRs to pay for inventory • Activist groups like New York Public Banking Group; Democratic Alliance; Orange County Peace and Justice; Orange County Public Banking Group; Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Rock Tavern; Westchester People’s Action Coalition (WESPAC); The Pennsylvania Project
  32. 32. Research, Approach, Petition (RAP)  R - Join online groups:!forum/public-banking (219 members)!forum/pbivolunteers (141 members) (236 members)  R - Download this slideshow: and  R - Begin a study of benefits of a Public Bank in your community, city, state, compare funding alternatives and current investments (will require experts!).  A - Hold a Press Conference or public event:  A - Cultivate the Press: “What North Dakota’s Public Bank Does for Small Businesses”  P - Sign onto the petition to support a State Public Bank – Assembly bill A01696 / Senate bill S07416 - and gather more signatures: state A thousand signatures hand-delivered in each district would make a big difference!  P - Petition your Assembly Member, City Council member, State Senator, to support Public Banking. 10 co-sponsors already support the Assembly Sandy Galef bill, 2 co-sponsors for the Senate James Sanders bill. Get them to sign the Resolution in favor of the bill in the Files section of this Facebook page:
  33. 33. Approach Members of the Banking Committee to Co-Sponsor the Galef Bill: A01696 New York State Assembly Banking Committee: Chair: Annette Robinson Members: Peter Abbate; Jr. Joseph Borelli; Karim Camara; Brian Curran; Patricia Fahy; Andrew Garbarino; Mark Gjonaj; Michael Kearns; Micah Kellner; William Magee; Nicole Malliotakis; Michael Miller Walter Mosley; N. Nick Perry; Andrew Raia; Robert Rodriguez; Gabriela Rosa; Sean Ryan; William Scarborough; Luis Sepúlveda; Aravella Simotas; Dan Stec; Claudia Tenney; Raymond Walter; Harvey Weisenberg; David Weprin All Co-Sponsors: O'Donnell; Steck; Rosenthal; Mosley; Skartados; Quart; Buchwald; Gottfried; Jacobs; Mayer Approached in Red Agreed to Co-Sponsor in Green

Editor's Notes

  • This presentation is in three parts.
  • Actually, the Federal Reserve CANNOT legally involve itself in buying up state, municipal, or city debt, even if it wanted to.
  • $16T, based on summer 2012 audit of the Federal Reserve, revealed by Senator Bernie Sanders, among others.
    …Or, $29T if revolving loans are counted, according to L. Randall Wray of the University of Missouri – these loans have never been repaid, just rolled over -
  • I’m going to approach Public Banking a bit differently today, by looking at community banking first…
  • Which system is more risky?
    Don’t forget community banks! In North Dakota, which has the country’s only State Bank, there hasn’t been a bank failure in over 20 years. Nationwide, there have been over 500 bank failures just since 2000 (FDIC).
    For a city-based Public Bank, substitute “City” for “State” and add Community Banks in between City Bank and City Projects.
    Source: Center for the Study of Innovation report on State Bank possibilities in Washington State.
  • The Public Banking Story is also a Community Bank story. Notice how lending by North Dakota’s community banks has pulled away from that of otherwise comparable states, even during the crisis years!
    It’s not just oil & gas:
    Fracking did not significantly increase production in North Dakota until 2005, and loans per capita were higher than comparable states well before then.
    From the Center for State Innovation - State Bank Legislative Guide, pg. 59:
    “It seems likely that larger, mostly out of state, banks were the big loan generators for the oil and gas exploration companies as they ramped up operations in the state; thus the effect on smaller, in-state banks (the Bank of North Dakota’s target partners) was minimal….CSI analysis shows that banks in North Dakota reduced lending 33%-45% less than comparable states, and we believe that this is in no small part due to the stabilizing effects of its state bank.”
  • Banks with low levels of loans to asset ratios, like JPMorgan Chase & Co., where loans are 31% of assets, have more diversified sources of revenue, including from investment banking, asset management, and derivatives.
    The TBTF banks are called Systemically Important Financial Institutions by the Fed and the FSB, but “important” to whom, and for what reasons???
  • Again, the Public Banking case is the Community Bank case. States with low community bank per capita ratios, like California, Florida, Nevada, and to a somewhat lesser extent, New York (mollified somewhat because of the unique nature of New York City), all had high foreclosure rates. States with lots of community banks per capita, like South Dakota, Minnesota, and most especially, North Dakota, the only state with a Public Bank, had low foreclosure rates.
    None of the 5 worst states have more than 47% (Illinois) community banks.
    None of the 5 best states have less than 45% (Mississippi) community banks.
    But North Dakota has 4X lower foreclosure rate than the next best state, Vermont. It also has the most community banks per capita (81%), and a State Public Bank! The best of both worlds!
    Sources: U.S. Real Estate Trends & Market Info -
  • OK, small banks are good for the community. So, how have they been faring?
    Small banks have consolidated and disappeared due to regulations, acquisitions, and (some) economies of scale, but mostly bankruptcies.
    Source: FDIC Report - community_banking_by_the_numbers_clean-1.pdf
  • The Loan to Asset Ratio is only getting worse for the Big Banks, even while they soak up more and more assets. What is all that money good for?
  • The number of small banks has continued to plummet since 2009.
    A recent American Banker article called the community bank model “not sustainable” -
  • From the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency:
    Just in case you have forgotten what kinds of things the TBTF banks are speculating upon…Note the multi-trillion dollar notional value of derivatives of the top 9 banks trading in that space. Don’t forget to add 6 zeros. The Total Credit Exposure to Capital of the Big 5 banks is greater than 100%. Even with hedging, assuming it is working – a bad assumption in the last crisis – it would only take a 5% default in such a large portfolio of derivatives to completely wipe out the Large Banking sector.
    Source: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 3 qtr, 2013 report:
    The TOTAL size of the Derivatives market? As high as $1.2 Quadrillion:
    Think about this the next time a large commercial bank says there’s no need for a State Bank because they have “everything under control.” Where do you think the state’s money is safer?
  • Does anyone still believe the TBTF Money Center Banks (SIFIs) are a safe place to store the public’s money? (A show of hands)
  • If the current system is systemically dangerous, what can we do?
  • It’s not just an oil & gas story:
    Other similar states, like Alaska, have oil too, but also more than double the unemployment – Alaska’s unemployment in 2012 was 7.1%, North Dakota’s was 3.1%
    North Dakota’s oil/gas boom started in 2005.
    In the 1990s, with crude oil and farm prices continuing to fall, the state's chamber of commerce, the Greater North Dakota Association, undertook a statewide effort of town meetings and planning sessions to create a strategy to improve North Dakota's future. The state was actually LOSING per capita income until they set up an aggressive BND-sponsored development program in the 1990s -- and it worked:
    In 1991 the state legislature passed a $21 million budget for economic development for the period 1991 to 1993.  This amount was four times larger than any previous development budget (Department of Economic Development & Finance).  The funds came from earnings of the state-owned Bank of North Dakota.  This economic development legislative package was a set of policies and programs that was known as “Growing North Dakota" (Patrie).  
  • Definition of 'Return On Equity - ROE'
    The amount of net income returned as a percentage of shareholders equity. Return on equity measures a corporation's profitability by revealing how much profit a company generates with the money shareholders have invested.  ROE is expressed as a percentage and calculated as:Return on Equity = Net Income/Shareholder's EquityShareholders, in the case of the Bank of North Dakota, are the taxpayers, since they are where almost all of the deposits come from, in the form of taxes. Read more:
  • California is alone at the bottom at A-minus and is the only state to dip to the worst possible rating, BBB, during a recent 11-year period. That happened in 2003, during a state budget crisis so severe that then-Gov. Gray Davis was recalled. The highest rating California achieved during the period, A-plus, came in 2006, at the height of a speculative housing boom that then went bust.
    New York State has a AA to AAA rating on its debt, about what the Bank of North Dakota has for itself.
    Additional questions: Are ratings agencies reliable? What was their record during the crisis? When they were giving California an A-plus rating in 2006, did they predict they would lower it to A-minus just a few years (2012) later? If not, can we believe anything they say?
    Read more here:
  • These rainy day and pension funds – detailed in CAFRs – total 10s of trillions, nationwide. They could be partly invested in Public Banks, eliminating the need to float a bond to form a bank, adding even more debt.
    The assets of pension funds swing wildly due to market gyrations. In New York State alone, the pension fund has gone from $156 billion (2007) to just $110 billion a year later (2008), and then back to where it started - $153 billion, at the end of 2011 - all while pensioners required only $4.5 - $8.9 billion, net of contributions. It’s the investments that cause havoc, not the demands for outlays!
    The Vermont Chapter of the Public Banking Institute has made progress:
    Vermont’s Senate Bill 204 would expand the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) to become a state bank and would start out by depositing 10% of Vermont’s unrestricted money into the state bank. The bank would be able toleverage this money by means available only to banks to bolster the economy of the state and cut down on the interest payments and fees that are presently paid to out-of-state financial institutions and other entities.The bank would not engage in retail banking and would not compete with community banks; it would work with community banks to maintain their viability and expand their ability to help create better economic outcomes for Vermonters by partnering with them in projects they would not be able to engage in on their own. In a show of direct democracy that also exposed the citizenry's desire for a more localized and responsible banking system, fifteen of nineteen towns passed the resolution during 'Town Meeting Day'— an annual event in which voters choose local officials, approve municipal budgets, and make their voices heard on a number of measures.
  • Sources: Detroit is Not Broke:
    See also the article and video about funding a Public Bank for Philadelphia here:
  • There is $71 billion in a single California Treasury “rainy day fund” alone ( that could be invested in a state bank, creating opportunities and jobs.
    How bad is it?: In 2012, California had a $17 billion deficit, owed the federal government $14 billion, and owed the California public school system $10 billion. Bloomberg: California and its localities have paid out 8.9% this year (2012), according to S&P data.
  • States with poor credit can pay as much as 9% for money they borrow, all while the commercial banks that hold the State’s tax revenues, invest everywhere BUT the State – e.g. overseas, in risky bonds (some below investment grade), even in shorts and options!
    Also, Dodd-Frank has, ironically, made life harder for community banks and easier for the Largest Banks. Dodd-Frank Law has made the process of mortgage origination much more complex and costly for community banks.  These banks approached the BND about helping with this process which the BND has agreed to provide.  The result is that the community banks can make mortgage loans without having to absorb the added costs and burdens required by the Dodd-Frank law.  If not for this assistance, some of these banks might have stopped doing mortgages. 
  • Usury –
    In law, the crime of charging an unlawfully high rate of interest.
    In Old English law, the taking of any compensation whatsoever was termed usury.
    With the expansion of trade in the 13th century, the demand for credit increased, necessitating a modification in the definition of the term.
    In 1545 England fixed a legal maximum interest, a practice later followed by other Western nations. Generally, anything above 8% has historically been considered usury….and states like California are paying 8.9%!
  • We could easily create a Public Bank of Manhattan, or Brooklyn, or… It could be larger than the Bank of North Dakota.
  • There are other choices at the Federal level, but states are limited by:
    Being constitutionally obligated to balance their budgets every year
    Being unable to “coin Money” under Article 1, Section 8, as the Federal Government can.
  • What else can be done…?
  • How will the members in Red react when a thousand-signature petition is presented to them? Will they turn Green?