Just a reminder: This November 5th is National Bank Transfer Day. Why not transfer to a credit union or a small, local bank committed to community investment instead of a large corporate bank that delights in crashing economies?
Since early 2011, I have been recommending that Death and Taxes readers (and those people whom our readers know) should move their money out of corporate banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase. It seems that others have joined in the call to action with the designation of November 5th as National Bank Transfer Day.
Below are five good reasons to put your money in a credit union—paraphrased from my March 25th, 2011 article “5 Reasons to Put Your Money in a Credit Union.”
1. Fuck Convenience
Everyone always talks about convenience when it comes to commerce, and the same goes for personal banking. Well, fuck convenience. Walk, bike or drive a few extra miles to your nearest credit union or small, local bank.
“Convenience” is a corporate subversion and should be recognized as such. Life isn’t convenient. Ultimately, a more convenient banking location will not make your life any easier.
As I wrote in March, “There is nothing convenient about giving one’s money to the unethical, especially when it enables them to execute risky investments, lose it all and come slithering back on their underbellies to beg the middle class for bailouts. Yes, your money is an an enabler of bad behavior.”
2. Your Money Will Not Precipitate Economic Crashes
Credit unions, co-ops and small banks are not “too big to fail.” They are careful in spending their members’ money and use it to invest locally in community efforts.
3. Your Money Will Not Line the Pockets of Fat Cats
Your money does not go to an executive in a Manhattan penthouse and it does not finance a yacht in Saint Martins and pure Colombian cocaine off a Thai hooker’s bottom.
Credit unions “are careful in how they spread risk and will not precipitate economic crashes like that which we experienced in 2008: a crisis of big banks mingling financial tentacles and appendages with corporate insurance firms (see: AIG) and high-flying investors who have zero sympathy for the plebes.
Skeptics will say that transferring money from personal accounts will not truly effect banks because the real money comes from other sources like big investors and foreign capital. Well, riddle me this then, skeptics: Why has Bank of America had to resort to fees programs for more capital? That money is coming from very ordinary personal checking and savings accounts.
Credit unions exist to create a reasonable profit in order to remain solvent, not to enrich executives, boards and investors. Excess earnings, in turn, are used to offer members more affordable loans for housing and businesses, as well as lower fees.
4. You Will Be Part of a Union, With Voting Rights
Credit unions are member-owned and democratic, which means that each member has a vote and is able to run for the credit union’s board. This is a right you absolutely do not have at large, corporate banks.
5. No Financing of Unethical Business
Bank of America in December helped financed the sale of Erik Prince’s mercenary army Blackwater (now Xe), calling it a “growth industry.” Washington Mutual collapsed because of its exposure to predatory sub-prime mortgages and they were not alone in these practices. JPMorgan Chase, of course, took Jefferson, Alabama to the cleaners over predatory lending and derivative swaps for a proposed sewer project, which Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi covered in “Looting Main Street.”
Credit unions are far less likely that to take these sort of risks because, quite simply, they are not built to make such gambles.
Remember, remember the 5th of November is National Bank Transfer Day. So go forth and let the big national banks let you know what you think of them. And don’t just wait until November 5th—start today.
Indeed, there is already some indication that banks are backing off their fees programs in the face of popular discontent.