A score of California lawmakers have signed on to a new bill designed to offer Golden State households free financial services, taking on the state’s powerful banks at a time when easier access to banking services could help families cope with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If it passes, the California Public Banking Option Act would create BankCal, the first state government program in the nation to offer universal consumer banking, according to financial policy experts. The program would provide no-fee debit cards, direct deposits from employers and government agencies, electronic bill payment and ATM access, directly competing with private banks.
“The bill creates a way for Californians to bank without paying exorbitant fees — money that could be used for food and rent or rebuilding from the economic devastation wreaked by the pandemic,” said Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), a lead author of the measure, Assembly Bill 1177.
“If a rich person earns money, that money makes money. When a poor person earns money, that money is gouged from every corner. Financial institutions make enormous profit off the backs of those who … they say they help.”
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction