- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 19, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Santa Fe is looking to spread its city accounts to community banks and credit unions now that its contract with Wells Fargo is set to expire in December.

The city wants to spread about $210 million in various accounts to community banks and credit unions, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported (https://bit.ly/2pgn4zz) Tuesday.

“We have a fiduciary responsibility to make sure that taxpayer dollars are safe and invested back into our community as much as possible,” Mayor Javier Gonzales said. “Our financial partners need to have a stake in our community.”

The city has put out a request for proposals for banking services. City officials say community reinvestment practices, local employment and financial education will all come into play.

Community advocates have been concerned about alleged fraudulent account practices by Wells Fargo and its backing of the Dakota Access Pipeline, said Matt Ross, city spokesman.

A bank official, however, says the city’s money might remain with Wells Fargo despite its attempt to go elsewhere.

“The city would prefer that the total of the city’s assets held at the fiscal agent bank constitute less than 10 percent of the banks’ total assets,” according to the city’s request for bids.

This requirement will be difficult for community banks and credit unions to meet, according to the report.

Guadalupe Credit Union in Santa Fe has $161 million in assets, and even at that, it does not have the collateral to meet the city’s deposit needs, said Winona Nava, president and chief operating officer.

Councilor Renee Villarreal still wants to move forward with the implementation of a public bank so the city can finance its own capital projects, but that effort could take years.


Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, https://www.sfnewmexican.com

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