The financial crisis brought on by the reckless and destructive behavior of the “Too-Big-To-Fail” banks plunged the country into the worst recession since the 1930s. But while the federal government bailed out the nation’s biggest banks and corporations to the tune of $1 trillion, restoring profits to their shareholders and bonuses to their executives, the rest of the country has been left to fend for itself. The government justified the bailouts on the grounds that they were needed in order to “get credit flowing” into the economy. Ironically, the Big Banks are “padding their balance sheets,” – in other words, hoarding their money. Two years after the crisis began, credit is still frozen for most Americans, and that is preventing us from getting people back to work.
The State of Oregon collects and spends a lot of money. While that money is waiting to be spent, much of it is deposited with the Too-Big-To-Fail banks, like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, US Bank, and Goldman Sachs. In fact, we use the Big Banks for all kinds of government services – even paying them to administer Oregon’s food stamps program! It doesn’t need to be this way. We don’t need to support the companies that got us into this mess, and that are keeping us from getting out of it.
Since 1919, North Dakota has been served by its state-owned bank, the Bank of North Dakota. All state and many local agencies deposit their funds with BND. BND then performs banking services in the public interest, such as
Partnering with North Dakota banks to make agricultural, small business, and economic development loans;
Providing low-cost student loans to North Dakota students;
Lowering mortgage rates for North Dakota homebuyers;
Serving as a “bankers’ bank” for small banks in North Dakota, which lowers their costs and allows them in turn to provide lower-cost services to North Dakotans. (see more at www.banknd.com)
The Bank is a profitable business, but unlike private corporations, the profits belong not to shareholders and CEOs, but to the State of North Dakota, which enables the State in some instances to lower taxes.
The Bank is insulated from corruption by an independent management and is subject to the same financial management rules as other banks. But because the Bank of North Dakota belongs to the people, it can direct its activities in ways that benefit the businesses and the citizens of the North Dakota.
A Bank of Oregon would not compete with local banks and credit unions, but instead would help them to compete with the Too-Big-To-Fail banks, and would ensure that Oregon’s money is put to work in Oregon.
With a clean, fully transparent balance sheet, the Bank would not be weighed down by bad assets, and thus would be able to put more of its capital to work than the still-troubled Big Banks.
Ask Legislators to put Oregon’s Money to work in Oregon
Call, send a letter or email your legislator asking them to support a State Bank for Oregon:
Script: Today, the State of Oregon deposits billions of our tax dollars into the same “Too Big To Fail” banks that crashed our economy. I think that we should put that money to work for us and create jobs at home. I believe a new State Bank modeled after North Dakota’s successful Bank of North Dakota could reinvest that money in our local economy by partnering with community banks and help get our economy moving again. Will you support the plan for an Oregon State Bank?
Sign the pledge in support of an Oregon State Bank: oregonwfp.org/state-bank-petition
For more ways to promote a State Bank for Oregon contact ROP at 503-543-8417 or firstname.lastname@example.org