An idea has been kicking around New Mexico for a few years to start a “public bank.” As the group describes it, a public bank would, “hold deposits of the state’s revenue (taxes and fees) (and) would be a tool to increase investments in New Mexican communities rather than those funds being held by global banks making investments outside the state.”
Color us skeptical. Legislation (even in New Mexico’s “progressive” Legislature) has been introduced in recent years, but has not made it very far in the process.
More recently, the Santa Fe New Mexican has run an editorial outlining support for a “green” bank which of course would ALSO be “public,” but would be focused on environmental goals. The editorial explains, “A green bank can better enable New Mexico to access dollars in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, a program that’s part of the Inflation Reduction Act. That fund has around $27 billion to invest in projects around the nation. New Mexico should be ready to seek its share of climate dollars and to loan them efficiently and wisely.”
The original public bank idea was supposedly based on what North Dakota has in place, but we always believed that it would be politicized and not at all resemble North Dakota’s “model.” The “green” bank seems to be closer to what advocates really want, but it doesn’t resemble a bank so much as a tool for sucking up federal dollars made available via the printing press and Biden Administration.
We will be watching and reporting on BOTH of these ill-advised ideas. We recorded a podcast with Jerry Walker of the Independent Community Bankers Association of New Mexico on the original “public bank” idea.