Real change looks to be happening in the US, and it’s without Obama or his multimillion-dollar PR campaign.
US media reports that $4.5 billion shifted to credit unions in recent times as people protest against high fees and unethical bank practices.
Bank of America effectively created the Bank Transfer Day movement – which happened on November 5 – by announcing plans to collect $60 a year from each of its millions of debit-card users.
Despite Bank of America immediately reversing its decision, opposition to banks gained huge momentum via Facebook, with hundreds of thousands of Americans transferring their money to credit unions.
And while this bears no direct resemblance to the financial issues our country faces, this week’s mini-protest featuring Ned Kelly in Byron Bay attempted to make the point that our banking sector invests in ‘toxic shit’.
According to www.banktrack.org, Australia’s top four banks don’t fare particularly well when it comes to corporate governance and responsibility. The website lists all of the active environmental/humanitarian policies of every worldwide bank, and links them to unsustainable projects. In one case, ANZ were approached by the company HRL for brown-coal-fired power station investment in Victoria; they subsequently withdrew their interest.
Fortunately the Northern Rivers has its own local credit unions to invest in if you don’t wish to favour the big banks.
Banking that produces a profit for local investors is easier to keep tabs on and keeps the money circulating in the local community and economy.