Dear Pennsylvania Friend of Public Banking:
The directors and advisers of our Pennsylvania Public Bank Project met by teleconference on 24 April, to prepare the next stage of our steadily advancing campaign for public banking in Pennsylvania. Here is a brief summary of what has been accomplished to date and the work ahead.
- Formed a PA non profit corporation, The Pennsylvania Project Inc.
- Adopted By Laws and established an engaged Board of Directors and Advisory Board, including a highly qualified treasurer and counsel. Bios are now on the web site, About Us page / www.publicbankingpa.org
- Adopted a Conflict of Interest Policy
- Applied for IRS 501c3 status for tax deductible contributions
- Set up a web site which has been recently upgraded. We will be adding social media.
- To date, nearly 400 of our fellow Pennsylvanians have indicated their active support for public banking on our web site
- Organized public forums and workshops on college and university campuses, in churches, libraries, union halls and before business and civic organizations across Pennsylvania.
- Researched and authored a proposal for the City of Reading to form a Municipal Finance Agency that would allow it to pull its deposits from Wall Street and distribute them among local banks in amounts those banks can afford to collateralize, an interim measure while the city aggregates the necessary capital to form its own bank
- Produced and distributed some first class video. More are on the way. One in circulation, The ABCs of Public Banking is designed for group viewing and teaching and has garnered national attention. I have been invited to make a presentation to the mayor, members of city council and business leaders in Santa Fe, NM on 10 June. We are currently coaching the formation of other public banking efforts in NJ and WA state.
- Along with me, fellow Pennyslvania Project director Walt McRee is also a director of the national Public Banking Institute (PBI), as is another Pennsylvanian, Larry Murin, Special Assistant to the Mayor of Reading. Recognition of the work that you have supported. Walt McRee also produces and hosts the radio program, "It's Your Money," with PBI founder Ellen Brown.
- Established local leadership and teams working with elected officials, banking, business, labor, faith group and community leaders to form public banks in Reading, Philadelphia, Luzenre County and Pittsburgh and are identifying more such local opportunities to bring forward in concert over the next twelve to sixteen months.
The work ahead.
- Our recently expanded Advisory Board now includes two highly experienced bankers, each of whom has started and been CEO of a bank. On June 2, local team leaders, led by our banker advisers will meet with the Deputy Secretary and staff of the PA Department of Banking, to clarify the regulations and requirements to obtain a bank charter in Pennsylvania.
- Thereafter we will then begin the legal and financial research and benefits analysis to support the local legislation or ordinances required to establish public banks in each of our targeted municipalities and counties, as well as the planning necessary for initial bank management and staffing. The qualified professionals have been identified.
- We have begun the planning for a formal outreach to educate and gain the support of Pennsylvania's community bankers.
- We are planning a state wide meeting in late September to bring together you and other supporter/advocates to educate and enable the focused activity needed to move this campaign forward.
- More useful video will be produced and distributed in an expanded media effort.
- A student intern will be hired to support the web site, add social media and assist the expanded media effort.
- With the assistance of the educators and others on our Advisory Board, we are preparing an outreach to Pennsylvania college, university and high school students. We plan to reach college campuses via a state wide webinar in the coming fall term, and hope to reach even younger students by sponsoring high school debates about public banking.
- To date, we have focused on local, municipal and county leaders. But we have had expressions of interest from Pennsylvania state legislators. Now we are ready to begin an outreach to members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, to facilitate our local efforts and begin a conversation about a Pennsylvania Public Bank. This and more will be discussed in our September state wide workshop.
- We remain a diligently non partisan and non political organization. But we have already introduced our effort to the staff of both Governor Corbett and the Democratic candidate for governor, Tom Wolf.
This vigorous effort has been supported and enabled over the course of more than two years by the generous contributions of individuals like you. We have raised and put to work about $60k: roughly $3k in six months of 2011, $13k in 2012, $35k in 2013 and about $9k in 2014 YTD.
But now comes some heavy lifting as we go forward to accomplish our mission of establishing one or more working public banks in Pennsylvania in the next twelve to sixteen months.
To support the expanding work and opportunities we have nurtured, the directors adopted a budget of $140k for the twelve months May 2014 to April 2015, are forming a Finance Committee and are already at work to raise it.
Much of this budget will be devoted to the professional legal and financial research and benefits analysis required to support the three to five municipal and county public banks that are our current priorities.
We need your continued support to succeed. Here is what you can do now:
- Make a contribution via the Donate button on the web site: www.publicbankingpa.org or send a check to The Pennsylvania Project / 2019 Edgely Rd. / Levittown, PA 19056 / Att: Chrisitna
- Plan to attend the September meeting, date to be announced, in Harrisburg, a one day, Saturday workshop and planning forum.
- Tell your friends, neighbors and colleagues that you support public banking. Send an email to your own list and ask them to visit the web site, take a look and read or download the FAQ.
In all, we have moved deliberately and made steady progress, building on a strong organizational foundation. We have fought no battles in this campaign that we were not going to win (like rushing a state bill). We are daily making news and growing.
With your continued support, we can create the public banks that are vital to the future prosperity and economic security of every Pennsylvanian.
With sincere thanks,