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Bottom Line Conversations: What a Public Bank Will Do for Philadelphia

In this edition, Senior economics Correspondent, Oscar Perry Abello talks with Derek Green, Councilmember At Large for the city of Philadelphia. 

April 20, 2022

Green will talk about the groundbreaking legislation he introduced and championed, to establish the Philadelphia Public Financial Authority, the country’s first city-established public banking entity. Broadly speaking, public banks are government-owned entities that hold state or local government deposits and leverage them to advance policy goals while returning profits to the public.

Abello and Green will talk about what makes this legislation so groundbreaking; what the bill, which passed in March, does and does not do; and where its true potential lies. Green, a former small-business banker himself, believes that a public bank could increase access to credit for Black businesses in a city whose population is 45% Black, but where only 2.5% of businesses with employees are Black-owned.

Next City’s series “The Bottom Line” explores scalable solutions for problems related to affordability, inclusive economic growth and access to capital. The series is made possible with support from Citi.



Oscar Perry Abello is Next City's senior economics correspondent. He previously served as Next City’s editor from 2018-2019, and was a Next City Equitable Cities Fellow from 2015-2016. Since 2011, Oscar has covered community development finance, community banking, impact investing, economic development, housing and more for media outlets such as Shelterforce, B Magazine, Impact Alpha, and Fast Company. Follow him on Twitter: @oscarthinks.



Derek S. Green, Esquire, is Councilmember At Large for the Philadelphia City Council. He chairs the Committees on Finance and Disabilities and serves as the Vice Chair of the Committees on Aging and Law and Government. Additionally, Councilmember Green serves as the Chair of the Philadelphia Gas Commission, President of the Democratic Municipal Officials, and Past President of the Pennsylvania Municipal League. Additionally, he serves on the Boards of the City Trusts, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. Further, he serves on the Executive Committees of the Democratic National Committee and National League of Cities.

Before he was elected to City Council, Councilmember Green was the Special Counsel to Councilmember Marian B. Tasco. In this capacity, he drafted legislation as well as reviewed and monitored local, state, and federal legislation. He also served as counsel to the Philadelphia Gas Commission and the Committees on Finance and Public Health and Human Services and managed various Council hearings and meetings with constituents and executives.

Prior to working in City Council, Councilmember Green served as a Deputy City Solicitor in the Housing and Community Development Division of the Corporate Group of the City’s Law Department. Additionally, Councilmember Green’s legal experience includes positions as an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia and Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the State of Delaware (Securities and Criminal Divisions). He is admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and State of New Jersey. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Temple University School of Law and is a member of the Center for Progressive Leadership’s inaugural class of Political Leadership Fellows, and served as a faculty member and alumni Board Director. 

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