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It's a MoJo Rising in Los Angeles
The only public bank in the United States right now is the Bank of North Dakota (BND), which has been around for over a century. Los Angeles, with a population four times larger than North Dakota’s, could become the first American city to replicate this model. LA’s City Council just voted to fund a feasibility study on how a public bank model could boost the metro economy. Part of the winning argument was that a public bank would serve Black and Latino communities, small businesses, green energy initiatives, and affordable housing projects better than private banks in the City.
In the last two decades alone, BND has generated almost $1 billion in profit. Nearly $400 million of that, or about $3,300 per household, has been transferred into the state’s general fund, providing support for education and other public services, while reducing the tax burden on residents and businesses.
Low-income communities of color in Los Angeles are rallying around the idea of public banking because it could offer residents lower-cost debt and free basic banking services. By eliminating some of the $621 million the city loses each year in fees to outside banks, the new entity could redirect the savings to underwrite new affordable housing and business conversions into worker coops.
Also in this issue is a New York Times piece—finally—about the virtues of community land trusts in providing affordable housing. The article notes that today there are 315 community land trusts in the United States—90 more than in 2018. It also explains that the biggest obstacle to the expansion of CLTs is capital, a problem local investors are beginning to solve. (Attention Ezra Klein! Please do a podcast about real solutions like this rather than just invite guests who parrot developer-friendly gripes about zoning laws!)
Speaking of land trusts, also check out a recent article from The Berkshire Eagle. Jane Iredale, CEO of Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, recently bought a 79-acre farm in the Berkshires, in Western Massachusetts. She plans to improve the farm and then sell the property back to the community, where it ultimately will be protected in perpetuity by the Berkshire Community Land Trust.
And if you want to take a break from the sun (it’s 110 degrees today where I live in southern California), please check out a wonderfully radical critique of the U.S. financial system by Catherine Austin Fitts, founder of The Solari Report.
- Michael H. Shuman, Publisher
Los Angeles Moves Forward On Creation Of A Public Bank, Los Angeles Times (July 6)
Community Land Trusts Are Working To Create New Homeowners, The New York Times (July 8)
Jane Iredale Wants to Inspire Others to Save Land for Farmers, The Berkshire Eagle (May 18)
Winding Down A Cooperative With Care, Ownership Matters (June 7)
Moose’s Corner: Innovations in Local Business Networks - Come join Michael Shuman (aka “the Moose”) and AMIBA for a monthly deep dive with the best local business networks in the United States. This month’s event—on July 26, at 1 pm EDT—focuses on the Louisville Independent Business Alliance.
DCIF Legal Training Series - Virtual Event. Multiple dates through 2023. Deep dive into the legal considerations and skills needed to assist clients who want to build and maintain a Diversified Community Investment Fund (DCIF). Register here.
Crowdfunding Better - Virtual Course. Are you an NY business owner looking to learn more about crowdfunding for your business? You can now get complimentary access to the Crowdfund Better introductory online course "The Crowdfunding Opportunity" when you become a client of the NY SBDC. Register here.
Neighborhood Economics - In-Person Event. February 26-28, 2024. Event facilitating ongoing conversations across geographies that help people build economic architecture so everyone will thrive. Use code ATTENDEE to get a discounted rate of $325 (refundable through February 1, 2024), for only the next ten days. Register here.
Community Wealth Building Seminar with Michael Shuman, SEGRA (July 3)
Banks With No Shareholders? The Curious Case Of Mutual Banks, Next City (October 18)
Real Pickles is hiring a Sales/Operations Team Manager
Vermont Community Loan Fund is hiring a Director of Lending for Housing and Community Facilities
Project Equity is hiring a Business Engagement and Partnerships - Outbound Manager, a Regional Engagement Program Manager - California, and a Financial Analyst
Mission Driven Finance is hiring for multiple positions
FREE SHORT VIDEOS ON LOCAL INVESTMENT
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About The Main Street Journal
The Main Street Journal aims to catalyze the movement of $50 trillion from Wall Street to Main Street to facilitate economic development and economic justice. It’s sponsored by the National Coalition for Community Capital, with a grant from the Heron Foundation. We welcome feedback about everything, from our design to content. And we welcome suggestions of other groups to involve as partners, and other information to include. Please send ideas to Melea Huon-Dumentat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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