CA Makes History: Public Banking Act Signed into Law!


News from LCCR / CA Public Banking Alliance

Oct. 2, 2019

Contact: Matt Kovac, (415-510-9601)

California Makes History: Public Banking Act Signed into Law

California first state in nation to empower community-controlled banks

SACRAMENTO – Gov. Newsom has signed the Public Banking Act into law in a historic victory for economic democracy and climate justice, and a stunning rebuke to the predatory Wall Street megabanks that crashed the global economy in 2007-08.

California is the first state in the nation to empower communities to deposit taxpayer dollars in democratically-controlled nonprofit banks. Today those funds are deposited with Wall Street banks and invested in extractive industries like oil companies, private prisons, and gunmakers. 

“The people of California challenged the most powerful corporate lobby in the country – and won,” said Trinity Tran, co-founder of Public Bank LA, a member of the California Public Banking Alliance. “This is a testament to the power of grassroots organizing. Now is our moment in history to lead the nation by re-envisioning the role of finance and recapturing public dollars to benefit our local communities.”

The new law greenlights a pilot program allowing 10 public bank charters to be issued over a seven-year period. These banks can invest in local projects like affordable housing, small businesses, resilient infrastructure and clean energy, giving communities a voice in their own economic futures.

“The Public Banking Act is the first step toward repairing communities that were immensely harmed by the 2008 recession, especially communities of color,” said Sushil Jacob, senior economic justice attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR), a CPBA member. “Black Californians lost their homes and businesses at a greater rate than whites. Today, California’s communities of color remain disproportionately harmed by Wall Street’s predatory practices. Public banks can make all of our communities whole with equitable lending and non-extractive investing.”   

More than 180 organizations ranging from labor unions to advocacy groups to cities and counties across the state, along with the California Democratic Party, endorsed the Act.


The California Public Banking Alliance (CPBA) is a coalition of public banking activists in California working to create socially and environmentally responsible city and regional public banks.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR), one of the West Coast’s oldest civil rights organizations, protects and promotes the rights of people of color, immigrants, and low-income people in California.