Santa Fe gave the idea of establishing a public bank a shot. But a task force set up by City Hall has determined that startup costs, and “daunting legal and regulatory obstacles” would be too much to overcome.
“If limited to the city of Santa Fe’s financial assets, the possible benefits that a public bank might generate are at best marginal and at worst would carry risk of non-viability because of the relatively small scale of the city’s financial means,” reads a key task force conclusion.
Not to be too harsh here, but the idea that Santa Fe wasn’t big enough to pull off a public bank by itself seemed fairly obvious from the beginning, even to those of us who barely know how to keep enough in a checking account to cover debit card charges.
Former Mayor Javier Gonzales and supporters, in the wake of the financial disasters that caused the Great Recession, made good arguments for cutting out the middleman when it comes to investing city money and making sure it’s used locally instead of being part of the portfolio of big banks whose goals and investment strategies might not match Santa Fe’s. A public bank, it was said, would also be more likely to support and finance local small businesses and community projects.