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Santa Fe will have task force to explore public bank idea

SANTA FE — The city of Santa Fe is forming a task force to further explore the idea of creating a public bank.

On Wednesday, the City Council unanimously approved a resolution that would create a nine-member task force appointed by the mayor and approved by the governing body within the next 60 days. The panel will report back to the council after six months with its findings so the council can “make an informed decision about submitting an application for a New Mexico Bank Charter for a Public Bank of Santa Fe.”

The task force will be up of the city’s financial director and appointed members with experience in banking finance, regulation, law, as well as two at large members. They will be asked to look into what legal steps are necessary to establish a public bank, recommend a governance structure to the council, and draft a five-year business plan.

The resolution, introduced by City Councilor Renee Villarreal, also calls for at least two public hearings to obtain community input.

The city of Santa Fe has been exploring the idea of creating a public bank since 2014 when Mayor Javier Gonzales, then in his first year in office, held a day-long symposium on the concept. That led to a feasibility study that determined the city has the potential “to provide enhanced fiscal management, improved net interest rate margins, and a more robust local lending climate.”