| Bank Transfer Day.. are you in?
The 5th of November has been labelled Bank Transfer Day and it already has major banks in the USA feeling nervous about that approaching date.
The idea was hatched by the Occupy Wall Street movement to send the big banks a clear concise message that when the people work and act together they have the power over money trade.
The idea is to transfer any funds you have invested in the mainstream big banks to smaller community banks or credit unions.
In the US over 80,000 people have registered on a facebook page to join the transfer and some are predicting up to half a million people may drain the big banks funds. It is also seen as a coup for the credit unions who have struggled in the US, as up to now most Americans have stuck by their traditional banks.
So Why have the organisers chosen Credit Unions over Banks?
According to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), a credit union "is a cooperative financial institution, owned and controlled by the people who use its services. These people are members. Credit unions serve groups that share something in common, such as where they work, live, or go to church. Credit unions are not-for-profit, and exist to provide a safe, convenient place for members to save money and to get loans at reasonable rates." Essentially, credit unions are collectives of people brought together to loan each other money at fair rates. Pretty simple really.
They are not owned by any of the Banks. Even their insurance belongs to the credit union & not a 3rd party.
When you become a member of any Credit Union you have 1 share. Nobody is allowed more than 1 share so that all members regardless of wealth are equal members with equal say in the credit union. If you choose to leave your share is refunded.
I want to suggest that credit unions are a pretty good indicator of the health of the community. This is because they are an active expression of a community's commitment to ideals of self-help and co-operation. Credit unions never make a profit. Rather they use their surpluses to lower costs to members or further extend the opportunity for membership to others.
The purpose of any business is largely to serve its owners. In the case of a bank, owners are outside shareholders, and the purpose of a bank is ultimately to serve those owners by making profits from its customers. Thus, at banks, fees are high, and interest rates on deposits are kept low, while all the time it is investing in anything it can make money on. This may include anything from inhumane to unethical practices or environmentally ruthless investments here and overseas.
With credit unions, the members/depositors/owners are all one and the same. Credit unions are run not-for-profit, and thus are able to deliver substantially higher rates than banks for the same deposits. Also since every member is an owner they have an equal say in where and how the credit union invests its holdings. Usually it goes to local business or community members in the form of loans to further stimulate the local area.
Additionally, the end of the year sees some credit unions rewarding its members with cash bonuses if financial targets have been met.
Did you hear that its members get the BONUSES not the CEO or the board of directors !
So if you do decide to be complacent and just leave your money where it is on Nov 5th, at least please spare a thought for the indigenous population in New Guinea ravaged by rampant mining, the investment fuelling child labour in Africa and India, the funding of CSG mines across Australia and the list goes on and on and on.