As regular readers know, we at NPI have been longtime champions of member-owned credit unions, particularly since the economic collapse of September 2008 and the subsequent bank bailout. NPI’s staff and board belong individually to different credit unions, and NPI itself is a credit union member.
NPI became part of America’s credit union movement well before the failure of Lehman Brothers, the sale of Merrill Lynch, the seizure of WaMu, the passage of the bank bailout, or the Wall Street bonuses flap. We did so because we believe in walking our talk. It’s part of our overarching philosophy. To us, progressivism isn’t just about political action; it’s about economic action and social action as well.
By moving our money from banks to credit unions, we can all live more progressively. Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that exist to serve their members. They are run by volunteer board of directors. Since there are no outside stockholders to pay, all profits can be returned to members in the form of lower fees, better rates, and superior service.
It’s heartening to see so many other people finally choosing to break up with their banks and make the switch. Today, an event was held across the United States called Bank Transfer Day, in which groups of people joined together to close their back accounts and move their money to credit unions.
By all accounts, Bank Transfer Day was a success.
BECU, Washington’s largest credit union, reported that six hundred and fifty nine people opened accounts at its financial centers today — a new record for a Saturday. BECU membership, which is open to all Washingtonians, has been growing rapidly lately, with three straight months of record signups.
Specific Bank Transfer Day events were held in all of the Pacific Northwest’s major cities. Most of those leaving banks — including a number of Occupy protesters — were breaking up with Chase or Bank of America in particular.
Chase and Bank of America, along with Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank, held more than half of bank deposits in Washington alone as of the end of June of this year. The state’s credit unions, combined, held approximately twenty percent of the total share of deposit at the same juncture.
Here’s a roundup of stories about Bank Transfer Day that may be of interest:
- Bank Transfer Day brings major protests & big deposit moving in Eugene (KMTR)
- Local Chase manager was desperate (Daily Kos diarist m0ng0)
- A Hometown BofA Protest in The Dalles, Oregon (Daily Kos diarist jgilhousen)
- Another strong day for Occupy Seattle (The Stranger)
- Occupy Seattle calls for supporters to break up with their banks (Q13 Fox)
- Americans urged to ‘break up’ with big banks Saturday (KING 5)
- Big bank defectors trickle into credit unions (The Columbian)
We at NPI extend our congratulations to everyone who broke up with a big, greedy Wall Street bank today. Those who’ve switched are about to discover the joy of belonging to a member owned credit union.
Remember, all the major Wall Street banks — Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and U.S. Bank — were donors to Tim Eyman’s I‑1053 last year, which gives Republican state legislators unconstitutional veto power over state budgets. No progressive should be doing business with a Wall Street bank, period.