I chose November because banks and the retailers rely on spending during "Black Friday", the day after Thanksgiving to balance their books for the year. It would send a message and attract media attention and possibly hit their stocks. I know in the long run someone will tell me it will hurt the retail workers, but if that's a concern we can organize conscious consumer actions, like supporting local businesses and businesses who already have ties with the credit unions.
Due to the new fees brought by Bank of America, anyone with accounts there may choose to withdraw their funds before November in order to avoid their fees.
Since I have heard many people talking and feel the same way, then if anything the feeling of community at Occupy Chicago is very valuable and that could be a focus too during the Thanksgiving holiday. Instead of shopping we can spend time with our comrades and families/friends. Perhaps by that time we can be operating a kitchen and serve some meals to the homeless, veterans, job seekers, disenfranchised, etc.
I have been looking into this and have found that there are credit unions for every zip code in Chicago and probably most of the suburban area. Credit unions set up for specific employers or professions (like the Firefighters or Teachers) also have zip code provisions that allow anyone living, working or investing in those zip codes to open an account. That should allow all of us several choices of where to bank.
By the end of this week, I want to have several representatives of local credit unions as contacts and I am inviting them to come to HQ and speak to us and educate us on some of the benefits of credit unions.
For anyone unfamiliar with them, credit unions are banks owned and controlled by the members. Members of credit unions receive a share(s) in the bank and most of them require minimum deposits of $5 or less. All deposits at most credit unions are insured for up to $250,000 so I don't think that will be a problem for the 99%.
Credit unions offer student loans, car loans, vacation loans and paycheck loans at rates well below the commercial banks. For example, several offer student loans at interest rates around 4%, while commercial banks insured by the government to issue student loans under national Financial Aid programs regularly charge up to 20% interest. I had no idea until this year that the bank that issued my loans was none other than Bank of America through Sallie Mae and the federal Plus loan program.
Credit unions offer the same services as a commercial bank, including checking accounts, savings accounts, direct deposit, online bill pay, online banking and ATM withdrawals from select ATMs. That is the major trade off the commercial banks don't want you to know, you pay for the convenience of their ATMS through their fees and charges.
I am going to formulate that list of credit unions according to zip codes and community areas for the GA and propose this action for November. There are countless credit unions in the downtown area and maybe we could chose several to endorse for this action, especially if we get any unions on board with Occupy Chicago.
I have been thinking about this a lot since I want some action instead of words from Occupy Chicago.
As a disclaimer, I have an account with a credit union located at the Thompson Center/State of Illinois Building, and how much attention would that bring to us if about 100 of us went there peacefully to open accounts while the governor's office, state's attorney and other government officials look on. Sounds pretty civil disobedient to me...
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