Every Friday, Occupy the Banks hosts Weekly Bank Actions at different locations throughout Portland communities (in collaboration with other organizations, groups and community members) to apply continuous coordinated pressure on the three mega-banks: Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JP Morgan Chase. We proudly interact with members of the community about the importance of moving their money and debt out of big banks and into local credit unions and community banks.
Why should I move my money?
Banking locally strengthens our communities and encourages unique diversity and resilience where we live. Every step we take quickly compounds the effect, circulating more dollars in our community while promoting self-sufficiency and independence from external financial shocks.
Local community banks and credit unions are the essential building blocks for creating a truly local economy. If the institutions that hold our money are not local, we have little hope of sustaining a local culture that values small businesses, family farms, and the basic idea that our money should be put to use in ways that benefit our communities, not multinational Wall Street banks.
National Wall Street banks extract wealth from our communities. Much like a big box stores, they are designed to funnel money to a centralized corporate structure which has virtually no built-in accountability mechanism toward the community in which they are doing business.
How do I move my money?
1. Open Your New Account
In most cases, you should be able open a checking account with an initial deposit of $25 to $100. At a credit union, you’ll also become a member and co-owner at the same time.
2. Order New Checks and an ATM/Debit Card
These typically arrive within 1 to 2 weeks. You should also consider applying for a credit card from your new local bank or credit union at the same time.
3. Ask Your Employer to Reroute Your Direct Deposit
When you open your new account, ask the bank or credit union for a direct deposit authorization form that includes your new account information. Give this form to your employer and anyone else who makes direct deposits to your account. It may take one or more pay cycles for the change to be made, so keep your old checking account open and watch for the switch.
4. Contact Companies that Direct-Debit Your Account
Using your last bank statement, make a list of any businesses that you’ve authorized to directly debit your account. Ask your new bank or credit union for an automatic payments authorization form that includes your new account information. Send this to the businesses on your list.
5. Set-up Online Bill Paying for Your New Account
If you like to pay bills online, set up bill payment information for your new account. Also, stop any automatic, recurring payments you have established through your old account.
6. Close Your Old Account
Once you have started receiving direct deposits into your new account and are sure that there are no outstanding checks or automatic debits that need to clear, close your old account. Warning: do not just withdraw the last dollar and assume the account will fade away on its own. Your old big bank may start charging you fees for having an empty or inactive checking account. Instead, follow the bank’s procedure for closing out the account.
National Day of Action!!
Ultimately, the Weekly Bank Actions will build towards a national day of action on November 5th, to organize a significant number of people, organizations and businesses to “Move Your Money/Move Your Debt” before the November 6th elections.
Want to get involved?
If you are interested in hosting an action, helping to organize an action with other organizations, or learning more, we invite you to join us at the Occupy the Banks Planning Session on Tuesday, October 9th, at the First Unitarian Church (SW 12th and Salmon) at 7pm.
If you are unable to attend the meeting, have questions or want more information, please contact Occupy the Banks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about moving your money and a ranking on local credit unions and community banks, go to: oregonbankslocal.org