The Bank of North Dakota: A Model for Massachusetts and Other States?

Research Reports cover
New England Public Policy Center Research Report No. 11-2
by Yolanda K. Kodrzycki and Tal Elmatad

In 2010, Massachusetts legislators considered whether to create a state-owned bank as a means to address concerns about credit availability and other economic challenges stemming from the financial crisis and Great Recession of 2007-09. In 2011 a commission was established to investigate the feasibility of setting up such an institution. This research report informed the work of that commission.

The report provides an in-depth examination of the only state-owned bank in the nation, the Bank of North Dakota (BND). It discusses BND’s history and current operations, and analyzes the degree to which the bank stabilizes the state economy, provides local businesses improved access to credit, augments the lending capacity of private banks, and contributes revenues to the state government. The authors conclude that, in recent years, BND’s most important role has been to serve as a lending partner for North Dakota’s numerous small banks, but that its willingness and capacity to offset a serious credit crunch has not been shown, owing to the comparatively limited stresses on North Dakota banks in the recent national crisis and economic downturn. The report estimates that the potential costs of starting up a state-owned bank in Massachusetts could be significant.

Full report pdf

The final report pdf of the Massachusetts commission charged with investigating the feasibility of establishing a state-owned bank for the Commonwealth heavily referenced the Center's research and recommendations.