Dear Council Members,
I’m writing to ask that you support the inclusion of a public bank feasibility study in this year’s budget.
As a recent study by the City of Santa Fe has demonstrated, the benefits of a public bank can include job and revenue creation; the ability to support local business; reductions in the cost of borrowing for public infrastructure; and ensuring that the city has an ethical alternative to the multinational financial institutions that currently manage and benefit from public revenues provided by Seattle taxpayers.
And as you know—because you voted in favor of the Wells Fargo ordinance and the DeFund Keystone XL resolutions earlier this year—the financial sector is coming under unprecedented scrutiny for its role in the climate crisis. In the last year, the world’s 8th largest bank, BNP Paribas, as well as ING Bank, US Bank, Desjardins, and the largest association of credit unions in North America have all taken major steps towards ending funding for new fossil fuel projects. Meanwhile, just a few days ago — and less than a week after the largest-ever protest of banks investments in fossil fuels — the people behind the Equator Principles (a guiding framework for how major banks invest their money) announced that they would be re-writing their guidelines to take a stronger stance on climate and Indigenous rights.
By securing funding for a public bank study, the City of Seattle can continue this powerful momentum for ethical banking, and show leadership in pushing back against the financial sector’s relentless pursuit of profit above all else.
We are fast running out of time to curtail catastrophic climate change—yet big banks are continuing to invest in projects like the Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota Access pipeline.
Seattle can do better: Please find room for a public bank feasibility study in this year’s budget.