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The Public Bank Option—Safer, Local, and Half the Cost


The Public Bank Option—Safer, Local, and Half the Cost

Ellen Brown

"For those few politicians who are aware of the banks' magic money tree, the axiom that the people should own the banks—or at least some of them—is a no-brainer."


I have been following the Bank of North Dakota story for years. Very impressive results indeed. Is there anyone out there who can reliably inform me what the connection between the spike in Bakken oil activity in ND and the Bank’s success might be? I have no preconceived notions, but would like as a scientist to see if correlation can be proved or disproved.


“The Bank of North Dakota was established by legislative action in 1919 to promote agriculture, commerce and industry in North Dakota” … which precedes the recent Bakken oil “bonanza” by nearly 100 years, and has been successful throughout its history. But yes it is true the Bakken “bonanza” has made it even more successful recently.


Many thanks MM23! I just have never seen an analysis of exactly how the oil “bonanza” has impacted the Bank’s performance. I’m neither for nor against the Bank–just curious. Hopefully, Ellen Brown will check this out for me/us.


Public Banks are a “no-brainer” when it comes to escaping the power of the Big Banks - precisely the intent of the BofND when it was formed.

There was a big push in Oregon to open one a few years back - not sure how that turned out. And it was a Republican state rep pushing it! He represented a district largely made of small farms that could not get loans from the Big Banks.


I wholly concur; I’d rather have the skim go towards public works than private yachts. Reading Yanis Varoufakis’ writings about how the game is played in Europe has been enlightening for me. At any rate, Ellen Brown is to be commended for her dogged pursuit of the truth about debt.


Nomi Prins is another author who gets down into the nuts & bolts of the corrupt banking scheme, like Michael Hudson and a few others.

I watched Democracy Now! with Yanis Varoufakis a couple of days ago and he mentioned something that put the pieces in place I’d never realized before - the “Nixon Shock” of taking the US off the gold standard is what gave the banks free rein to materialize money out of thin air like they’d never done before. I’m a bit surprised I hadn’t realized that sooner … but there it is.



I gather one difference between public and private banks is that in the former, they are owned equally and controlled by all for the common good. In the latter, they are owned and controlled by oligarchs and shareholders for private gain, everyone else be damned.


Hi, the Bank of North Dakota’s stellar results are independent of its oil boom, as evidenced by the fact that after the summer of 2014, the state experienced a serious oil bust; yet for every year right up to the present the bank has had record profits. The state was in such bad shape that it had to tap up the bank for a dividend to balance its budget. The governor said that few states would have been able to weather the collapse both of oil and of their major agricultural products as North Dakota did. I wrote an article on that, here –


On the other hand, banks may be useless. Money is going away:


Hope you saw Ellen Brown’s response to my post … it answers your question!


Thanks for the enlightening article … and all the work you do!


How easily knowledge flows through the intertubes!


The big banksters poor millions into states where the people are trying to get one started.


Good question, would like to see an answer.


Big Banks monies.


In 2014 the Wall Street Journal reported on BND being more profitable than Goldman Sachs — but pretended it was only because of the oil boom, which it knew was not the case.

Why would WSJ tell such a barefaced lie, blaring it in the headline, no less?

Because Wall Street is terrified that people (read: public officials and their constituents) may discover the emperor has no clothes. Banking demystified. After decades of obscene abuse, they might slip out of big banks’ iron grip. They could follow BND’s example and launch public banks, as Phil Murphy may soon be doing in NJ.

“The more you tighten your grip … the more star systems will slip through your fingers.” —Princess Leia

See blog at FairNow (dot) org and scroll down to 2/15/17 post, “Goldman Sachs trumped by public bank.” (Because this is my first post at Common Dreams, the software won’t let me include a link. Spam protection. Sorry for the inconvenience!)


What this “public bank option” means is that the state backstops the private banking system with public assets. The “public/private partnership” is a real deal for the private bankers. What bank would not want to be capitalized with public assets, like the multitude of private banks in ND are subsidized by the BND? There are more private banks per capita in ND than any other state for good reason. Their profits are guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the people of North Dakota. Is this what “public banking” means? No. This is what Ms. Brown calls it, but it’s a misnomer. A genuine public bank would not capitalize itself with public assets and revenues, which it then makes available to private banks to loan back to the public at interest. That’s not public banking. A genuine public bank would provide interest free credit for public purposes, it would not subsidize the private banking system.