Move Your Money from Exploitative Banks
The following is a message from the Occupy Bay Area Jewish Contingent, who participated with us in the recent Occupy Rosh Hashanah demonstration at the Wells Fargo Building in downtown Berkeley:
The Jewish Imperative:
Move Your Money
You’re striving to live ethically. Do you know what your money does when you’re not looking?
Four banks – Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Citigroup – hold 40% of all deposits in the United States, 50% of mortgages, and 62% of credit cards.
Big Banks finance environmental destruction and private prisons, corrupt our democracy by buying influence in Washington, and continue to foreclose on hardworking Americans. The same banks that caused a global financial collapse continue to grow bigger and more powerful.
- Bank of America holds the most foreclosed properties in Alameda County, has the worst record on mortgage modifications, and decreased its small-business lending 97% in the past two years.
- Wells Fargo charged its own clients 120% interest on short-term payday loans and paid CEO John Stumpf a $12 million bonus in 2011.
- JP Morgan Chase refuses to divest from Sinopec, an oil company that helped fund the Sudanese government’s genocide in Darfur.
As Jews, we must act. But we also invite our friends from all backgrounds to join us in this campaign!!! Small banks and credit unions have a history of supporting minority religious and community-based institutions when the big banks wouldn’t. Let’s now support them. If you currently use a big Wall Street bank, join the wave of people switching to small local banks and non-profit credit unions. Then walk into the nearest branch of your Big Bank and say:
“PLEASE CLOSE MY ACCOUNT.”
If not now, when?!
7 Steps to Move Your Checking Account
- Open Your New Account. In most cases, you can open a checking account with an initial deposit of $25 to $100. At a credit union, you’ll be a member and co-owner.
- Order New Checks and an ATM/Debit Card. Consider applying for a credit card from your new bank or credit union at the same time.
- Ask Your Employer to Reroute Your Direct Deposit. It may take one or two cycles to take effect, so keep your old account open and watch for the switch.
- Contact Companies that Direct-Debit Your Account. Looking at your last few bank statements, make a list of businesses you’ve authorized to directly debit your account. Don’t forget infrequent bills.
- Set Up Your New Online Bill Pay. If you like to pay bills online, set this up for your new account. Stop any automatic payments you established through your old account.
- Close Your Old Account. If you have loans from your old bank, make sure closing your account won’t impact the interest rate. Once all outstanding checks and automatic debits have cleared, follow the bank’s procedure for closing an account. Consider writing a letter or telling a bank manager why you closed your account. Warning: Do not assume an empty account will just fade away. Your old bank may charge fees for an empty or inactive account.
- Enjoy your new, ethical banking relationship!
Learn more, and find a local bank or credit union:
- Move your money: moveyourmoneyproject.org
- Facts about the biggest banks: tinyurl.com/bankfacts
- Chase & Darfur: http://www.investorsagainstgenocide.org
Brought to you by the Occupy Bay Area Jewish Contingent
For OBAJC meeting and event announcements: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/OBAJC
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We at Tikkun and the Network of Spiritual Progressives strongly support this movement, and thank the OBAJC for bringing forth this clear and pragmatic call to action. We invite you to spread this information, place it on your website, Facebook page, and other available spaces, and JOIN the Network of Spiritual Progressives–not just for Jews and not just for religious people (atheists, agnostics, secular humanists–all are welcome), to continue organizing in non-violent gatherings and demonstrations such as these. www.spiritualprogressives.org
Tikkun magazine www.tikkun.org, and the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives www.spiritualprogressives.org