New Orleans Credit union and community banks report the number of new accounts opening in October rose to by 13 times the normal rate of increase with over 650,000 new accounts since September 29th when Bank of America announced its (now rescinded) larcenous run on their own customer’s bank accounts through debit card fees. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) reported that new deposits resulting from these efforts had swelled deposits in credit unions by $4.5 Billion, which is certainly not small change. ABC News yesterday announced a figure of over one million customers having switched. Other commentators reminded readers and listeners that $4.5 Billion within the lending rule of thumb that for every dollar in assets, the institution can loan ten dollars, which means that credit unions may have just acquired an additional lending ability of $45 Billion if they are willing to step up to the plate. Having called for a boycott of Bank of America and any other money sucker that wanted to add this charge and keep fleecing consumers, this all makes me very happy!
Reports from Seattle on blogs and websites indicate there were lines of people pulling out there money. Once again ABC had footage of a modest sized business owner with $3 million in accounts pulling his money out in Seattle and putting it into credit union accounts. I was less enthralled with the footage of an interview with Kristen Christian, who had announced a Bank Transfer Day, and has gotten a lot of ink with a Facebook page and this, that, and the other, with her ham-handed attempt at distancing herself from the Occupy movement, which has been more helpful in getting traction here than any other force. I assume she got typically bad advice from someone that she needed to distance herself specifically from the tactics of the few, rather than showing the good judgment of just keeping her mouth shut on the Occupy movement and push forward on the bank transfer themes. Watch any politician on TV, young sister, and they will teach the value of keep stepping rather than sewing dissension on irrelevant side issues.
Nonetheless, this is all good, and in fact needs to continue to be a major push by way more people. Banks and all of the Homeland Security mess that attends the opening and closing of accounts do not make it easy to move money from place to place, so in fact the effort to continue to “green line” these big banks and consumer rip-off artists must continue to build to continue to divest their ridiculous coffers and subsidize their management bonuses and Wall Street level salaries.
This is part of what it means to build “citizen wealth” in our communities. This is not simply a protest effort, but it is the way that lots of individuals and families can create their own “community reinvestment” initiatives to return money to work in their communities rather than simply piling up on the balance sheets of the huge, bailed out “ghost” banks with their inflated portfolios and their refusals to loan and extend real credit to help pull the country out of the great recession.
If 1 million means $4.5 billion out and $45 billion for our communities, then why not 10 millions to move $45 billion out and $450 billion into our communities to create livelihoods and better, more vibrant cities for all of our families?