Democratic candidate for New York City Mayor Andrew Yang has announced his plan for the first city-backed financial institution to help low-income residents.
According to a release, the People’s Bank of New York (PBNY) will be responsible for direct payments to residents under his universal basic income plan, the bank will also help underserved communities.
“I wake up and I feel privileged that I may have a positive impact on the lives of other people,” Yang said Wednesday according to Newsweek. “I wake up pumped up about what I can do to help our city get back on our feet. If that’s not motivating I don’t know what is.”
Yang also wants the PBNY to provide growth capital for CDFIs, provide loan guarantees for small business loans, and create a new People’s Bank certification for financial institutions in the city which will offer basic banking services and commit to accepting state identification to open an account.
More than 300,000 residents in New York do not have a bank account and are forced to deal with check cashing services and their high fees. Another 600,000 households in the city are underbanked according to the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs and Worker Protection.
Black and Hispanic households are particularly affected. According to a 2018 FDIC survey, one-sixth of Black and Hispanic Americans do not own a bank account from a traditional bank or credit union.
“Despite our City’s vast financial resources, communities of color, immigrants and the working poor in New York are robbed of the necessary resources and capital to start a business and build a better life for their families. It’s an invisible tax on low-income New Yorkers and we have to do better,” Yang said in the release.
“The plan I’m putting forth today is just the beginning of my commitment to building a chartered public bank in New York City.”
Despite several slip-ups concerning bodegas and telecommuting in the same household with children, Yang is currently the front runner in the New York City Mayor’s race. He holds a double-digit lead over Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Comptroller Scott Stringer.
More than 20 people are registered to run including Yang, Adams, Stringer, Former Bill de Blasio aide Maya Wiley, NYC Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, CITI Executive Ray McGuire, City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, and Issac Wright, whose life story is the basis for the ABC series For Life.