Don’t trust banks? Move Your Money!

Saturday, January 16th, 2010 By

Anti-big bank movement is gaining steam

On the community level, smaller banks and credit unions give back to the people who need financial help.

You’ve seen it in the news and you’ve experienced it firsthand. Banks have cried to the government for bailout money to continue operating, they received billions of taxpayer dollars and what did they do with that money? High salaries and executive bonuses are still common in America’s big banks, and the American people are fed up. They use payday loans when they need quick cash, but what about long-term solutions? The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) and well-informed panel members like Heather Murren are on the right track, pursuing bank CEO with probing questions about regulatory matters. But what can average consumers like yourself do with your money if you no longer want to support big banks and their greed and treachery? You can Move Your Money!

Community banks and credit unions build communities

Move Your Money is a grassroots effort that is designed to shift power “away from Wall Street and to Main Street,” according to MoveYourMoney.info. In a recent article, Phil Britt points out that the movement is supported by The Huffington Post, which is a significant organization to have in one’s corner. No more Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan/Chase, Citibank, Bank of America or Wells Fargo, says Move Your Money. They all “took billions in taxpayer money and have cut lending to businesses by $100 billion.” Post founder Ariana Huffington identifies this as “populism at its best… a withdrawal tax on the big banks for the negative service they provide by consistently ignoring the public interest.” If the American people do not take a stand, big banks will continue to control your money (and likely mismanage it).

Community banks support them

Berdell Knowles of the Community Development Bankers Association defines the culture gap between average citizens and big bankers. He blogs that “The bank executives who make the decisions on how to use the earnings from your money, whether it be to pay management bonuses or to invest in sub-prime mortgages, will probably know little about you or your community.” The natural alternative is community banks that use their economic power to directly help local economies (rather than funneling it into the gigantic overhead big banks bring to the table).

Not only that, but Knowles acknowledges that a community bank might have better insight into a borrower’s creditworthiness if they’re familiar with the customer. It’s a personal touch that big banks can’t possibly duplicate. Another thing community banks have over big banks is specific community economic funds distributed by the government (federal and state). An example Britt gives is the three percent TARP funds for Small Business Lending. There were $1 billion in assets there, and it was specifically for community banks.

Are people listening to Move Your Money? Yes they are

Credit Union National Association CEO Dan Mica has blogged that “consumers are already voting with their wallets in favor of credit unions.” Two percent credit union membership growth in 2009 is the most that industry has experienced since 2001, so the swing is quite real. Rep. Barney Frank had his finger on the pulse of the people when he said that the mortgage crisis would never have happened if big banks behaved like community banks and credit unions. People see what needs to be done, and Move Your Money is a way to mobilize them. When the people need money, they can use payday loans, but in the long term, community banks and credit unions are much more worthwhile to support that America’s treacherous big banks.

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