NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

A day of action: Progressives across the country use Bank Transfer Day to go bankless

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:

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.

If you need help making the switch yourself, check out, or the Progressive Change Campaign Committee’s Banxodus site.

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  1. Do you have a problem with small community banks? I switched to one of those from a Wall St pigbank.

    # by bluesky :: November 6th, 2011 at 6:32 AM
    • Not at all. We ourselves like belonging to a credit union (because under the credit union model, the members are the owners) but a community bank is a good choice too, as long as the bank you go with is competently run and stable. Might also be a good idea to check their donation history to see if the bank has participated in any electioneering.

      # by Andrew :: November 6th, 2011 at 10:58 AM
  2. hmmm, good idea to check donation history of a bank. How does one do that?

    # by bluesky :: November 6th, 2011 at 11:51 AM
    • Visit the PDC’s website. Choose the “Search the Database” dropdown menu, then hover over Advanced Search (last item). Click on Contributions.

      Where it says Contributor Name, type the name of the bank. It’s best not to use the full name, since sometimes it is recorded differently. So for example, if you wanted to see all of Sterling Savings Bank’s contributions, you’d just type “Sterling”, and for Banner Bank, just type “Banner”. You’ll get some other matches mixed in, but that’s okay!

      # by Andrew :: November 6th, 2011 at 12:29 PM
  3. Thanks.

    Oh well, one contribution to the Republican Central Committee ($1,118.81) in 2008, and one to the local Republican Party ($500) also in 2008. I guess it could be worse.

    # by bluesky :: November 6th, 2011 at 12:50 PM

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  1. […] A day of action: Progressives across the country use Bank Transfer Day to go …Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog (blog)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 …and more » […]

    Ping from A day of action: Progressives across the… :: November 6th, 2011 at 2:32 AM