A growing number of state lawmakers believe that a good way to lift the economy out of the doldrums is to get states directly involved in banking.

At least 17 states are considering bills to create a state-owned bank or give banking powers to existing state-government agencies. Backers say there would be at least two immediate benefits: a state-owned bank would partner with community banks to encourage lending, and the state would save millions of dollars on interest by holding its own deposits.

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