Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Another Way to Occupy: Join a Credit Union

By Rachel Swan
Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 11:01 AM

As the occupations persist at Frank Ogawa and Justin Herman Plaza, citizen-activists are finding a less vociferous, yet equally effective way to hamstring the fatcats at Wall Street: Join a credit union. As Aaron Glantz reported in The Bay Citizen, institutions like Patelco and Redwood Credit Unions — which both hold more than a dozen branches in Northern California (40 and 19, respectively) — are seeing an upsurge in clientele, as more and more people withdraw their money from major banks and adopt the new model. In contrast to the for-profit conventional banking structure (which diverts money from customers over to shareholders), credit unions pass their profits on to members, in order to give them better rates on loans and financial transactions.

Apparently, this form of protest has taken hold in the Occupy Wall Street movement at large, inspiring organizers to dub November 5 their official "Bank Transfer Day." The idea? "If the 99% removes our funds from the major banking institutions to non-profit credit unions on or by this date, we will send a clear message to the 1% that conscious consumers won't support companies with unethical business practices." So far, more than 51,000 are attending.

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