TrentGrad saidIt's kind of interesting...both Alberta and North Dakota are jurisdictions that tend to be more fiscally conservative!
The idea of a public bank seems like a very...ahem...SOCIALIST...idea. ;) LOL
First off, I have to admit that I was wrong- and off by decades. Apparently, the ATB was founded in 1938 (meaning that California is lagging by over 7 decades.) It was created by the Social Credit government in power at the time.
You have to remember that the West has always felt like it has gotten the shaft from the East; both governments and private corporations such as banks. The bank of Canada is run out of Ottawa and the big banks who refused to lend at the time were based in the east as well. The ATB was originally established to act outside of the federal bank act.
The stated goal of the ATB was to “provide the people with alternative facilities for gaining access to their credit resources.” The other goals, when the ATB were founded were to "increase public purchasing power, create a demand for Alberta made products, assist in establishing Alberta based industries and advance the welfare of Albertans.
I thought they started in the late 70's when we were getting screwed by the NEP and houses were selling for $1 because the economy went to pot and credit was hard to obtain. The ATB really did help in that atmosphere as well.
Wow, I learned quite a lot looking into the history of that bank... Thanks.