Why to Move Your Money, and Where

Where you bank matters in Portland. You–that’s right, you personally–can create sustainable economic and community well being. This sort of empowerment has so impressed your friends and neighbors here at Occupy Portland that we are going to do something about it.

Just last Saturday, October 29, hundreds marched under the Occupy Portland banner to the Oregon Convention Center, which Bank of America, with 43 branch locations in metro area, saw fit to rent out for a special event. Naima Muntal of the OP Action Workgroup said in addressing the crowd, “Bank of America is responsible for tens of thousands of illegal foreclosures.” The bank continued their pandering to that same public, by referring to the them with the courtesy of “customers” at this event billed as “educational”. As if that somehow erased the damage done.

Protesting against the attitude the banks take towards us, their “customers”, is one thing, but wouldn’t it even be better if we could break away from these banks once and for all? Many of us would like to to put their money in credit unions and local banks that didn’t take a bailout or their house. Enter the Move Your Money Project, a new national banking holiday where we leave the too-big-to-fail banks in their economic dust. The idea is that on November 5, Americans will withdraw their money from the big banks and move it to local financial institutions, depositor by depositor, voicing their opinion on the bailouts with their wallets. Not only does this send the message that the big banks are not too big to fail our trust, it transitions wealth to where it creates real jobs in your local community.

Choosing where your money goes your community via your financial institution empowers you more than the voting booth. Most jobs are created by small businesses. In Portland this is especially true. From the Portland Development Commission “Business Support – Small Business 2010, “…More than 44,000 firms with less than 50 employees are in business in the Portland area; small businesses represent 95% of all firms and employ 254,000 people with a payroll of approximately $2.1 billion. Nearly three-quarters of the net new jobs in Portland are created by small business.” That alone could send you flying out the door to pull your money from Big Bank.

Now that you have the “Why,” here is how to find the “Where.” HelloWallet is a web-based business devoted to personal wealth growth. Aware of which side America’s bread is buttered on, they donated a tool to Move Your Money Project that looks for local banks and credit unions. Select the “Find a Bank/CreditUnion” button on the MYMP home page linked above, to try it.

The tool uses data from the Institutional Risk Analytics Bank Ratings (IRA).You can go to that site and enter your zip code to see the banks and credit unions in your area – large and small. If you want to dig a little deeper, you can register at the IRA site for free, and then look at the banks sorted by zip code, having more or less than $650BB, as well as the holding companies, and the business model.

Portland has at least 33 credit unions.There is a handy list of credit unions available here, with their phone numbers, addresses, and the number of members: the number of which will undoubtedly burgeon by November 6. After that, it may take awhile to catch up on the count, with all the new depositors.

On November 5, you can join us to celebrate the kick off of the Move Your Money Project. Start the day down at Terry Schrunk Plaza with us from Occupy Portland–in the shadow of the Wells Fargo building–for a peaceful celebration of Move Your Money Day beginning 9:30 a.m. It’s a great place to meet your friends and family before heading out to put your money to work for Portland, instead of leaving it where it works Portland over. Details on the rally, and the ability to RSVP are available on FaceBook at the Portland-based action in solidarity with International Bank Transfer Day.

Then on Saturday when you hear, “Don’t look now, but there’s something is going on over there at the bank,” they’ll be talking about you.

by The Portland Occupier News Team

Photo by Paul Cone