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  • Writer's pictureJoan Bartl

Murphy Win Fires-Up National Public Bank Movement

Banking on New Jersey Co-Directors Joan Bartl and Walt McRee knew they had opened something special when they first talked with then-gubernatorial candidate-to-be Phil Murphy about public banking.  “What’s that?” he said at the picnic where they met – “oh, yeah, North Dakota?  Yes, let’s talk more about that.”  And they did – the Murphy campaign got deeply engaged in the subject and, with the encouragement from McRee-Bartl that public banking would distinguish his candidacy and make a national impact, then-Ambassador Murphy got on board and has never wavered.

“They did their homework and we fed them information about national developments and local applications that could significantly improve NJ’s fiscal standing from pension funds to infrastructure to student lending. Phil’s background as a banker made all the difference – he knows how banking works and how it could succeed as state policy,” said Walt McRee, who at the time was Chair and CEO of the national Public Banking Institute. “Now it’s time for the people and stakeholders of NJ to step forward and support the creation of the bank’s mission and establishing it’s integrity as a transparent, independent and powerful financial engine for the State,” McRee continued.

“I love that Phil has repeatedly called the state bank ‘The People’s Bank of New Jersey,’” said Joan Bartl, “his focus on the bank’s ability to serve the many under-served sectors of our state economy and people is an inspiration in itself. There is such need here, and NJ is not broke.  When we start to examine the possibilities for this bank, people are going to be surprised at what it can do,” says Bartl.

Banking On New Jersey will be launching a high-level task force of stakeholder interests and expertise to help the new administration focus and get legislative support to move the banking idea forward.  One such application may already be emerging from CA, which will be legalizing cannabis use at the start of next year.  The CA  State Treasurer has just concluded a year-long study of whether a public bank can serve that budding industry’s expected multi-billion dollar tax revenue, something that perhaps Governor-elect Murphy may also want to examine.

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