From the Christian Science Monitor: Public banks could help after a disaster such as superstorm Sandy

Kelly McCartney • • November 22, 2012

In April 1997, a public bank was able to respond to a massive flood in Grand Forks, N.D., in ways that privately owned banks could not or, perhaps, would not. Could public banks help in other disasters, such as superstorm Sandy?

The Public Banking Institute blog cites a powerful example of how a public bank can help a city bounce back from a devastating natural disaster. As Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts unfold, there’s a lesson from history about the role of strong local financial institutions in increasing urban resilience.

In April of 1997, Grand Forks, North Dakota, was hit by record flooding and major fires that put the city’s future in jeopardy. One of the first economic responders was the Bank of North Dakota (BND), currently the only public bank in the United States.

What’s a public bank, you ask? Public banks are owned by citizens through their government. They have a public interest mission, are dedicated to funding local development, and plow profits back into the state treasury to fund social programs and cover deficits. Rather than competing with private banks, BND partners with them to meet the needs of North Dakotans. BND is one reason North Dakota has low unemployment and runs budget surpluses while most states are deeply in the red.

Read the complete article here.

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