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Moving Beyond More Debt and Higher Taxes



Cities, counties and states are facing significant systemic financial challenges: an increasing need for capital with a diminishing share of revenue, sustaining unsustainable costs of borrowing, and dependence upon a financial marketplace that puts them at distinct financial disadvantage. With these pressures building, many are moving toward managing their public debt and gaining new sources of public credit by creating their own publicly-owned banks.

The prospect of more monetary flexibility and magnified monetary assets is hard for government executives to ignore. Isolated from political and special interests, these transparent and professionally-run depository institutions can become powerful, even transformative tools for addressing civic needs.



Public banks have been part of American monetary culture for 300 years, but only the Bank of North Dakota has been operating on a continuous basis over the past century. This scarcity of publicly-owned banking institutions has created the impression that something must be wrong with the model. The truth is that private banking interests have so monopolized the industry since the creation of the Federal Reserve in the early 20th Century that they were virtually forgotten until the publishing of Ellen Brown’s landmark best-seller Web of Debt, which educated the public about how the banking system is organized and operates. Ironically, with the repeated and devastating impacts of the private banking industry on social and economic outcomes nationally, a newly educated public has turned its attention to the highly successful and stable public banking model.

In less than 10 years this resurgence has acquired significant momentum. Civic groups wanting to replace government’s debt-based dependency on private capital have now pushed scores of government leaders nationwide to take notice, and what these leaders are noticing are the significant financial advantages that are possible from having your own bank.

Public Banking Associates colleagues have engaged these banking queries to help sort through the many complex issues associated with the management of public money. Beyond the visible political theatre of wanting to have a public bank able to produce stellar outcomes like the Bank of North Dakota, serious analytical, legal and political work must be engaged to create and establish a successful publicly-owned depository.

Because public debt loads mount, private banking fees grow and civic needs increase, prudent civic leaders are asking the question of whether they, too, should consider this option. Public Banking Associates, singularly experienced in the field, has been formed to answer those questions and open a viable path forward. Our mission is to explore and realize these possibilities.       

The Bank of North Dakota

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Home: Analysis

Analysis and Advice

Many legal and financial challenges must be addressed to implement a Public Bank -- a potentially daunting challenge for government officials.  Banking fundamentals and constraints, risks and prospects all need to be addressed prior to a formal commitment to create a Public Bank.  Assessing those aspects and prospects and helping facilitate public and private stakeholder understanding and buy-in is what Public Banking Associates does.


Public Banking Associates provides a guiding hand informed by decades of professional roles in banking and government finance operations - a collegium of experts who have worked in the field and are able to help lead the way forward by identifying key steps, assessments and needs. 

Bankers, municipal finance experts, government executives and political advisers are all represented in PBA's Faculty of Advisors and are among the very few individuals in the nation with actual experience addressing the issues presented by these new Public Banking initiatives.


While municipalities and state governments share similar managerial and legal frameworks, obligations and business mechanisms, each has its own set of functional and political realities.  PBA starts its work with a comprehensive view of the Public Bank project and its prospect, determining first what the bank is intended to do (Mission), what key assets are available, which are hidden, the composition and trajectory of liabilities and other obligations, and a host of additional concerns that must be evaluated along the way.

Real World Experience

Our Faculty of Advisors has served public banking pursuits at state and local government levels in Seattle & King County, WA, Washington State, San Francisco, Portland, Denver, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and many more.

Public Banking Associates presents to Washington State Senators

at the State Bank Forum in Seattle.

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Creating a public depository requires a circumspect view of the legal, political and financial environment. The bars to entry to this world are many and not a few of them are rusted-shut through disuse, private prohibitions and historical ignorance. It is a path worth pursuing, but not without a guide.


PBA Advisors know the nature of these constraints and, like a diagnosing doctor, can detect chief obstacles in the space that will shape forward progress. So the planning process first requires a number of assessments that will determine what follow-on steps are appropriate and/or discover unexpected prerequisites that might later undermine an ill-considered program. Only when basic realities are evaluated can a prudent public planner or executive decide to move forward.


A relationship with Public Banking Associates can be phased to provide initial assessments that help determine the prospects for successfully creating a public bank. Or PBA can be called in at a later point to consult on or devise governance and management concerns, best practices, portfolio strategies, regulatory oversight, staff selection, or stakeholder relations.  Or we will be happy to come educate your staff and or the public about what the banking proposition is all about.


In other words, Public Banking Associates offers to be a partner for your process at any point along the way, drawing upon the benefits of the foremost experts in the field to substantiate and guide the process forward.

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Market Analysis

Administrative Analysis

Financial Analyses

Legal Analysis

Political Analysis

Assessments of Concept Viability

Project Methodologies

Mission and Management

Operational Projections and Impacts

Institutional Systems Integration

Special Focuses and Service Strategies

Systems and Resource Development

Stakeholder Strategies and Engagement

Project Oversight and Management

Public Presentations

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