Signed as part of a package of consumer financial protection bills, Assembly Bill 1177 calls for the state to conduct a market analysis of a state-backed program that would give Californians a public option for banking services like debit cards.
The study would aim to determine if that service would be viable within six years. Then, the Legislature could decide whether to launch a public banking program. AB 1177's ultimate goal is to make opening or maintaining a bank account easier for Californians who lack access to commercial banks. “Creating a public option for banking and closing the racial wealth gap isn’t only a moral imperative, but is necessary to foster greater financial security for all of our communities. This bill is a much-needed step to address the needs of the unbanked and underbanked and moves us closer to building a more equitable economy after the pandemic,” Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, wrote in a statement urging lawmakers to pass his bill.
His bill was part of a package of consumer financial protection bills that the governor signed into law on Monday.