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A Public Bank Can Support Black-Owned Businesses

by Kay Lasker

Kay Lasker is a member of the Philadelphia Public Banking Coalition. This letter to the Editor appeared in the August 16, 2021 Philadelphia Inquirer

It is heartbreaking to learn that the country lost 41% of Black-owned businesses in the spring of 2020, and I applaud the Black Chamber of Commerce for supporting such businesses.

I retired after thirty-eight years as a small business owner so clearly recognize the value of good mentoring and supplemental financing that entrepreneurs need when starting and/or maintaining a small business.

However, this is not enough. Only a public bank can and would provide the heavy boost that a vibrant small business sector needs. Such a bank could increase the pool of low-interest loans that community banks make and that big banks are increasingly disinterested in making.

Even better, as the loans are paid off, the interest helps grow the bank’s business capacity to invest back into the community, becoming a new source of public revenue.

City Council is poised to consider legislation to start up a Philadelphia Public Bank this fall. Let’s us all support the establishment of a Philadelphia Public Bank and make our money work for the common good.

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