Alternet catches up with ANWF in their article about the Move Your Money Campaign. It’s a good article and lays out what the movement against the banks has looked like. In many ways, ANWF has been waiting for someone famous to help bring greater attention to the kinds of actions that we think we should do to fight back, the ones we think are most strategic.
Truth be told, Jan Frel and our local Bay Area group have been helping to devise a bank divestment campaign for some time. And breakupthebigbanks.com and ourselves have been crafting that campaign and were going to release it in January. Now, we have plans for applying more pressure to Congress — local government divestment, grassroots protests in the name of breaking up with your bank, all coming out next week. More on this soon.If you want to help with the campaign, email or leave comments : tyc at anewwayforward dot org.
To be fair, the move to switch bank accounts started happening last year, credit unions and community banks have seen a huge rise in new accounts. This happened simply because people are angry at Wall St and realized big banks were going out of their way to rip them off.
But despite ANWF’s nationwide rallies — which remained relatively small, though attended by voters of all political stripes — breaking up the banks has never been on the legislative table. That may be one reason why Move Your Money has garnered so much excitement. It does not seek to force people on the Hill or in the White House, many of whom are indebted to banking interests, to act. Instead, Move Your Money calls for direct action by regular people who are irate at the overly cautious pace of financial reform…
Of course, the growth of national banks has increased some conveniences, such as ATMs you can access anywhere in the country, but who cares about saving two dollars on your withdrawals when your bank is perfectly willing to up your credit card rate from 4.99 to 40.99 percent in one fell swoop (as Citi did to one man with good credit) for no fathomable reason? You’re just as faceless to them as they are to you.
With examples such as these, Move Your Money hopes to dispel longstanding myths that big banks are cheaper — and nicer — than smaller ones.
A growing movement
As of this week, 23,000 — or about 50 percent — of all U.S. zip codes have been searched for through Move Your Money’s “Find a Bank” feature, says Dennis Santiago, whose influential bank-rating firm Institutional Risk Analytics donated the tool.
One community bank with five branches in Northern California recently called Santiago to report it had a $1 million increase in deposits per branch since the start of the campaign, which the bank had not yet caught wind of.
While Move Your Money’s search tool only includes community banks, the Credit Union Times reports that since the start of the campaign, two of the largest credit union associations have reported 300 percent search increases in their credit union databases since Move Your Money launched….
Even ANWF, which had based its organizing around breaking up the banks last year, will be waging a similar campaign that launches in a week, says Tiffiniy Cheng, ANWF’s national coordinator. Called Break Up With Your Bank, it will ask people to stop using their credit cards and use cash as much as possible. If you must have a credit card, switch to a low-interest card from a local bank, Cheng says.