An SF City Bank Is Not Only Possible — It’s A Great Idea

San Francisco faces no legal obstacles and no significant policy problems with creating a municipal bank, a recent report from the city’s budget and legislative analyst concludes. The report, released late in November with very little news media fanfare, represents a major step towards putting the city’s sizable financial resources into community development, affordable housing, and small businesses instead of the profits of giant, corrupt financial institutions. The report hinges in part on a change in the position of the City Attorney’s Office. In 2011, when then-Sup. John Avalos raised the issue, the budget analyst reported that state law would ban a municipal bank. But since then, after detailed research, City Attorney Dennis Herrera has concluded that “in fact, State law does not preclude the city from creating a bank as a separate legal entity.”
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