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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/7/13

American Apartheid

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Public banks, often referred to as "partnership" banks, are capitalized with public funds and assets, which are then leveraged as with any bank, to provide affordable and sustainable credit which is distributed into the productive economy in partnership with private, community banks.

Public banks are not retail banks (the BND has one office). They are run by professionals, paid as civil servants, receiving no mega salaries, bonuses or commissions as incentive for the kind of run-away risk taking that crashed Wall Street. Profits are reinvested in the loan portfolio or returned as non-tax revenue to the general fund of the jurisdiction that established the bank.

The BND has a current commercial loan portfolio of more than $2.9 billion and has returned an average of $30 million a year over the past decade to North Dakota taxpayers -- in a state with a population of about 670,000.

Public banks eliminate the need for unproductive government "rainy day" funds, can provide disaster relief and low cost student loans, and substantially reduce debt service on municipal bonds and infrastructure projects. They do this by bidding down interest rates, or when the bank buys bonds, returning the interest paid by taxpayers to the taxpayers' bank.

Public banks work counter-cyclically in the economy, maintaining credit flows during economic downturns, as has been amply demonstrated both in North Dakota, and nations whose economies were sustained by their public banks through the recession that devastated the U.S.

Finally, public banks can serve as the depository institutions for public funds and revenues, bringing billions of dollars back from Wall Street to Main Street, and begin to break the stranglehold the banksters have on the wealth of America.

You can learn about public banking at

Mike Krauss is director of the Public Banking Institute and chair of the Pennsylvania Project. Email: Email address removed


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Author of the forthcoming novel "Pursuits of Happiness," a director of the Public Banking Institute and chairman of the Pennsylvania Project. Mike is an international transportation and logisics executive with broad experience in U.S. government (more...)

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