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Black Economic Council of Mass. makes forming a public bank a top legislative priority

Chief executive Segun Idowu of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts has made persuading lawmakers to create a state owned public bank one of his top priorities. SUZANNE KREITER/GLOBE STAFF

The Black Economic Council of Massachusetts is throwing its newfound political muscle behind an unusual cause this year on Beacon Hill: persuading lawmakers to start a public bank.

Worried that Black-owned businesses will be left behind in the recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, the council is pushing for the formation of a state-backed lending institution that would help provide low-cost financing and close some of the longstanding inequities in the economy.

Importantly, a state-owned bank would not replace for-profit lenders, but would work with traditional banks to make credit more available to small businesses, such as the roughly 2,000 Black-owned businesses represented by the council and others owned by people of color.

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