Move Your Money, Interesting
Move Your Money: A New Year's Resolution by Arianna Huffington & Ron Johnson, Huffpost, 12/31/09
Read: Banking, Banks, Big Banks, Community Banks, Eugene Jarecki, Main Street, Move Your Money, Moveyourmoney, Moveyourmoney.Com, Moveyourmoney.Info, Moving To Community Banks, New Years Resolution, Business News
Too-big-to-fail banks are profiting from bailout dollars & government guarantees, & growing bigger. Tell us which community bank you use, & why.
Last week, over a pre-Christmas dinner, the two of us, along with political strategist Alexis McGill, film-maker/ author Eugene Jarecki, & Nick Penniman of the HuffPost Investigative Fund, began talking about the huge, growing chasm between the fortunes of Wall Street banks & Main Street banks, & started discussing what concrete steps individuals could take to help create a better financial system. Before long, the conversa-tion turned practical, & with some help from friends in the world of bank analysis, a video & website were produced devoted to a simple idea: Move Your Money.
The big banks on Wall Street, propped up by taxpayer money & government guarantees, have had a record year, making record profits while returning to the highly leveraged activities that brought our economy to the brink of disaster. In a slap in the face to taxpayers, they have also cut back on the money they are lending, even though the need to get credit flowing again was one of the main points used in selling the public the bank bailout. But since April, the Big Four banks -- JP Morgan/Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, & Wells Fargo -- all of which took billions in taxpayer money, have cut lending to businesses by $100 billion.
Meanwhile, America 's Main Street community banks -- the vast majority of which avoided the banquet of greed & corruption that created the toxic economic swamp we are still fighting to get ourselves out of -- are struggling. Many of them have closed down (or been taken over by the FDIC) over the last 12 months. The government policy of protecting the Too Big & Politically Connected to Fail is badly hurting the small banks, which are having a much harder time competing in the financial marketplace. As a result, a system which was already dangerously concentrated at the top has only become more so.
We talked about the outrage of big, bailed-out banks turning around & spending millions of dollars on lobbying to gut or kill financial reform -- including "too big to fail" legislation & regulation of the deriva-tives that played such a huge part in the meltdown. And as we contrasted that with the efforts of local banks to show that you can both be profitable & have a positive impact on the community, an idea took hold: why don't we take our money out of these big banks & put them into community banks? And what, we asked ourselves, would happen if lots of people around America decided to do the same thing? Our money has been used to make the system worse -- what if we used it to make the system better?
Everyone around the table quickly got excited (granted we are an excitable group), & began tossing out suggestions for how to get this idea circulating.
Eugene, the filmmaker among us, remarked that the contrast between the big banks & the community banks we were talking about was very much like the story in the classic Frank Capra film It's a Wonderful Life, where community banker George Bailey helps the people of Bedford Falls escape the grip of the rapacious & predatory banker Mr. Potter.
It was a lightbulb moment. And, unlike the vast majority of dinner conversations, the excitement over this idea didn't end with dessert. It actually led to something -- thanks in great part to Eugene & his remarkable team, who got to work &, in record time, created a brilliant, powerful, & inspiring video playing off the It's a Wonderful Life concept. Watch it below.
Within a few days, the rest of the pieces fell into place, including an agreement with top financial analysts Chris Whalen & Dennis Santiago, who gave us access to their IRA (Institutional Risk Analytics) database. Using this tool, everyone will be able to plug in their zip code & quickly get a list of the small, solvent Main Street banks operating in their community.
The idea is simple: If enough people who have money in one of the big four banks move it into smaller, more local, more traditional community banks, then collectively we, the people, will have taken a big step toward re-rigging the financial system so it becomes again the productive, stable engine for growth it's meant to be. It's neither Left nor Right -- it's populism at its best. Consider it a withdrawal tax on the big banks for the negative service they provide by consistently ignoring the public interest. It's time for Americans to move their money out of these reckless behemoths. And you don't have to worry, there is zero risk: deposit insurance is just as good at small banks -- & unlike the big banks they don't provide the toxic dividend of derivatives trading in a heads-they-win, tails-we-lose fashion.
Think of the message it will send to Wall Street--& the WH. That we have had enough of the high-flying, no-limits-casino banking culture that continues to dominate Wall Street & Capitol Hill. That we won't wait on Washington to act, because we know that Washington has, in fact, been a part of the problem from the start. We simply can't count on Congress to fix things. We have to do it ourselves -- & the big banks are the core of the problem. We need to return to the stable, reliable, people-oriented approach of America 's community banks.
So watch Eugene's amazing video, then go to www.moveyourmoney.info to learn more about how easy it is to move your money. And pass the idea on to your friends (help make this video -- & this idea -- go viral!).
JP Morgan/Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, & Bank of America may be "too big to fail"—but they are not too big to feel the impact of hundreds of thousands of people taking action to change a broken financial & political system. Let them gamble with their own money, not yours. Let's turn big banks into smaller banks. We'll all be better off--& safer—as a result.
Make it your New Year's resolution to move your money. We can't think of a better way to start 2010.
WATCH: Too-big-to-fail banks are profiting from bailout dollars & government guarantees, & growing bigger. Tell us which community bank you use, & why.
UPDATE -- Credit Unions: Some commenters have written suggesting we include credit unions. Like the FDIC for banks & thrifts, the National Credit Union Admin insures the deposits of credit unions & is a good resource for financial data on specific institutions. Credit unions do not disclose financial data in the same way as FDIC-insured banks. As a result, credit unions are not presently included in the IRA ratings database, which covers over 8,000 federally insured banks & thrifts. IRA is developing a method to rate credit unions in a way that is comparable to the IRA bank stress ratings. We'll be updating users of "Move Your Money" on this issue early in 2010.
For more info, go to: www.moveyourmoney.info
(Coming soon: How to get your municipal/state governments to take their money out of the big banks too.)
Re: Move Your Money, Interesting
In 1976 I went to a community bank here in Kentucky to get a loan to buy a car. The bank had one loan officer and he required that I pledge my savings account to get a loan. To make a long story short I still have my accounts in that bank. For FDIC insurance reasons I have moved some accounts to a bank in Porta Rico. My bank now has a system to place CD accounts at other banks for security. I still today call the president of the bank by his first name. This bank today has seven branches. This bank also holds twice the amount of capital on hand required by the FDIC. I deal with the same Finance Officer every time I buy or renew a CD. Kentucky Bank is the example of a good community bank. AIRBORNE! GERONIMO!!
Re: Move Your Money, Interesting
I have dealt with the same local Credit Union for the past 25 years or so. I also deal with one of the Home Grown banks here in Alaska. I have credit cards with a couple of the big banks down in the 48 but they are soon to go the way of the dinosaur.
Re: Move Your Money, Interesting
EXPET: At the top of the page is a link titled "Rules." If you click on it, you will find this:
Making your initial post:
You need to show common courtesy to those already in the community and introduce yourself to the rest of us. Your first post should go in the appropriate Introduction forum. There are 3 separate introduction forums to for our different members - one for Paratroopers, one for non Paratroopers, and one for civilians. Ensure you post your introduction in the proper one. Below is simply a vague template to follow. Your introduction should be similar in format to this but should be your own:
"Hi, I'm [insert first name ONLY] and I am a high speed Paratrooper and stumbled upon this place. I served from [insert dates here] with the [insert units here]. I [was/was not] on jump status."
If you are a civilian, just let us know your interest in our site in your intro. If you have signed a contract and are in the delayed entry program (DEP), include that information, your contract information, your current PT scores, and your pertinent dates in your intro. Additionally, be prepared to enter your dates on our calendar so we may track your progress.
Re: Move Your Money, Interesting
As our economy changes we must change with it concerning investments. Our government has taken the interest rate so low that we now must look to other resorces to get a reasonable return on our investments. I have found that tax free municipal bonds that are insured by the Federal Government pay better usually up to 5 1/4%. I have started to change investments now as CD's come due. I have delt with my community bank and still do for a lot of years. HOWEVER I find that the government isn't concerned about the middle class as it is evedent that many are seeing their savings return dwindle and are taking out principal to live. This is absolutely not the way to get out of a recession. My openion. AIRBORNE! GERONIMO!!