There has been a mass migration of money moving away from big banks including Wells Fargo, US Bank, Citi Bank and Bank of America. This month I broke up with Wells Fargo and joined the national divestment campaign. Simply put, Wells Fargo, does not invest their money in places that align with my values. So after 16 years, I moved my money to a local credit union.
Wells Fargo used my money for years to actively invest in the oil, gas and chemical industry, all of which I have been fighting against since my career started. They used my money to fuel the opposition campaign to peaceful Native American protests to the Dakota Access Pipeline. They used my money to invest overseas, instead of in my local community.
These types of unethical practices are fueling a widespread “divestment” movement, where people and cities, are pulling their personal assets from conventional banks and moving them to local credit unions. Case in point, Wells Fargo was recently fined $185 million by the city of Los Angeles for forcing staff to open bank accounts under clients names, without their permission.
Some of the first cities to pull out of their investments include Seattle, WA and my current home of Santa Monica, CA who pulled all city investments from Wells Fargo over opposition to their aggressive support of the Dakota Access Pipeline. We’re talking billions of dollars moving towards cooperative banks. This is big.
Why Moving Your Money to Credit Unions Matters
Wells Fargo has been bearing the brunt of the public campaign, but if you keep your money at any of the big banks, you should consider moving your money as well. Changing banks (and even updating my banking information) was actually quite simple. Here are some of the benefits of moving your money:
- Credit unions are not-for-profit, meaning their interest is in protecting and serving its members
- As a credit union member you have access to all the banking options you would have at a conventional bank
- Credit unions are not actively fueling campaigns to protect industries that harm the environment and public health
- The bank is cooperatively owned by everyone who invests their money, making you a member rather than a customer
- Credit unions re-invest any profits made to make sure you have lower fees, interest rates and lower loan rates
- Credit unions invest in the local community, providing loans to schools and small businesses
How to Find a Credit Union Near You
Some credit unions are focused on job type (for example there are credit unions for those in the military, government employees, and labor unions), and others are open to the public. Since I work in the private sector, I found a credit union near my home—Southland Credit Union—which serves people that work and live in Santa Monica.
To find a credit union near you, visit this website CU Lookup. Take the plunge, it feels so good.
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