Considering a State Bank for Local Governments

By: Bull Lucia, Route Fifty

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Lawmakers and researchers have been taking a fresh look here at creating a public bank, specifically to provide state agencies and local governments with improved access to infrastructure financing and other financial services.

The type of “state-chartered, public cooperative bank” under consideration would not be open to consumers or businesses.

But depending on how the bank were to take shape—if it ever takes shape at all—it’s possible that its scope and offerings would be broader than state “infrastructure banks” that typically offer low interest loans and other financing assistance for transportation projects.

As imagined, “members” of the bank would include public entities in Washington, like cities, counties, and utilities and the three main activities it could possibly engage in would include accepting deposits, managing investments, and providing loans.