A blog to keep current on MPIRG'S fight for social and environmental justice.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Statewide Move Your Money Day!

TODAY, February 27th, MPIRG chapters are taking a stance on responsible banking and saying “No!” to greedy corporate banks and “Yes!” to ethical local financial institutions. 

Big financial corporations are ripping apart our neighborhoods, our state, and our nation. They caused the 2008 financial crisis, but instead of being punished, they capitalize on its consequences. Continuing the decades-long history of predatory lending, they set unjustly high mortgage rates that devour incomes which otherwise would have fueled our state’s economy. If the lenders come across disease, unemployment, or accidents and miss their payments, they are further penalized. The bank officials would use dual tracking. They make it seem as if they are working on the loan negotiation while in reality they are formalizing the foreclosure process. Banks are assuming the same vulturous attitude in giving out student loans. We all know that nobody is guaranteed a well-paying job after graduation nowadays, yet many of us are guaranteed a stable debt burden. Much of the graduates’ income goes to alleviate it instead of being spent on investment or consumption.

A local bank or a credit union such as Affinity Plus, on the other hand, is knit into the community, and is interested in its prosperity. The service relationship between a community-based institution and an individual is much more personal, and both parties are interested in avoiding foreclosure and eviction. Because credit unions are not-for-profit organizations, they do not charge monthly or ATM fees, and do not try to trick their members into accepting hidden costs. Further, much unlike banks, a credit union always works in the best interest of its customers - simply because the customers are its shareholders. Because of this, the loan interest rates are lower and the deposit interest rates are higher. And the customers can rest peacefully knowing that their money is not funding private prisons, cluster monition, or nuclear weapon producers.

Banking is something that affects all of us both on the large, national-policy scale, and on the personal, account-and-credit-card level. For this reason, MPIRG members are undertaking several actions today. 

Every MPIRG chapter is organizing an educational event for the students. MPIRG is fighting the common myth that local banking has to be complicated and unprofitable, and explaining the procedures for closing accounts in big banks and moving the money to the small banks or credit unions. Representatives of Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union are coming to the campuses of Macalester, Augsburg, Hamline, and U of M in Twin Cities and Duluth in order to decipher this process, describe what it is like to bank with a credit union, and answer any questions. At Macalester College, there is also a rally organized in coalition with the Minnesotans for a Fair Economy to demand the administration to cut its ties with Wells Fargo bank.

Once students realize that moving your money is easy, fast, and makes you feel great, they will be certain to start banking with ethical institutions.


Liza Gorkova, Macalester MPIRG Member

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