Are State-Owned Banks a Win-Win?

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Focusing on the recent success of the Bank of North Dakota, talkshow host Thom Hartmann has raised the question of whether state-owned banks are something every state should have.

Hartmann came out in favor of state-owned banks in his opinion blog, calling them a “win-win for all.”

“You need to know this,” wrote Hartmann. “In 2014, the state Bank of North Dakota was more profitable than Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase. And, that’s why every state should own their own depository institution.”

He referred to the success of the state-owned bank last year, despite the loss of what had previously been credited with the main reason for its success: the state’s oil boom.

Over the past 18 years, the Bank of North Dakota has outperformed itself year after year, and even with last years oil bust, the return on investment topped 18 percent.

He also referred to points commonly raised by proponents of state-owned banks: how they stimulate the local economy, particularly in tough times, how they save investors money by cutting out Wall Street, how they may be better at helping fund new local businesses as well as state-level projects like trains and energy plants.

“Rather than simply throwing money away in the form of interest and fees, states could protect depositors, boost local economies, and fund the new infrastructure needed for the modern era,” stated Hartmann.

“North Dakota has proven that state-owned banks are a win-win for all of us, and more states should follow their example.”