State-owned bank in North Dakota an inspiration

State-owned bank in North Dakota an inspiration

WASHINGTON — As Congress returned to writing a bill overhauling regulation of the banking industry, some states are pondering homegrown solutions to the credit crisis. And for inspiration, they’re looking to a place that is far away from Wall Street in more ways than one: North Dakota.

North Dakota operates the country’s only state-run bank. The Bank of North Dakota makes loans to businesses and to other banks, and has come to be seen both in and out of the state as a beacon of economic stability and financial independence. Then there’s the revenue: The bank has turned over $350 million in profits to North Dakota’s general fund since 1997.

Bills intended to create similar state-run banks or study the idea are being discussed in Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington. Five more states have contacted the Bismarck-based bank in hopes of learning more about how the bank’s 168 employees straddle the line between public benefit and private enterprise.

Read the entire article here.

Article by Rhode Island Candidate for General Treasurer: Public Banking — From Radical to Conservative

Public Banking — From Radical to Conservative
by Tom Sgouros
Democratic candidate for Rhode Island General Treasurer
Posted: April 13, 2010 01:49 AM

“…My current favorite example of successful and competitive public service comes from those radicals in North Dakota. North Dakota is a pretty conservative state these days. They voted for McCain, and have a Republican Governor and two of the most conservative Democratic Senators in Congress. But a century ago, North Dakota was near the center of the Populist movement that nearly elected William Jennings Bryan president in 1896. Agrarian populists promoted all kinds of economic and fiscal reforms meant to pull power away from the financial and industrial elite of that “Gilded Age” and give it to farmers and workers. Part of their platform was to reform the banking industry to serve producers instead of bankers, and in 1919 they managed to squeak a measure through the North Dakota legislature to establish a public bank.

“…The Bank of North Dakota is the nation’s only state-owned bank.

“…But the part that I like best about the North Dakota bank is that it was founded by radicals but now run (and defended) by conservatives. This puts it in the company of many other common-sense public policy institutions, like disability insurance, unemployment compensation and Medicare.

Read the entire article here.

Massachusetts Senate Passes Bill to Study the Feasibility of a State-Owned Bank

Senate passes bill to stimulate growth
Milford Daily News
Posted Apr 12, 2010 @ 05:20 PM

Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, announced Thursday the senate passed legislation to promote a more business-friendly environment to help stimulate job growth in the state.

…Other bill provisions include prohibiting the use of state funds to pay for registered lobbyists; stopping agency executive salaries from exceeding the amount of the Governor’s salary; providing a three-year permit extension for development projects struggling with tight credit conditions and calling for a study of business energy costs, as well as a study to determine the feasibility of a state-owned bank.

Read the entire article here.