Friday, October 07, 2011

Close Your Bank Accounts?

From Josh's FB. Then to The Atlantic (for bigger version) which said it came from Mother Jones Jan 2010

I used the word 'predatory capitalism' recently and I should explain. Market economists tell us the market works because it is efficient, but only when there is competition. If your bank  and credit card company seem to treat you more as prey than as a customer - always looking for ways to take money from you - late fees, finance charges that never let go and lots of other automatic fees - then you know what I mean.  What about airlines?  Why can't you just buy a ticket at a fair price without looking all over the internet?  Why can't you give/sell your ticket to someone?  It seems the main reason is so they can charge you change fees. And cell phone companies?

This bank consolidation chart, which you can see better here, explains some of the reason - lack of competition. You don't have a lot of choices. And if you ever want to rent a car or buy an airline ticket online, you have to have a credit card. But scanning Facebook - I do this now and then - I found one feasible response.

Found this on Kelly's FB

Credit Unions are a great option.  We've been members of Credit Union One since they've been the Teachers Credit Union.  Ours doesn't mess with us.  They're local and they treat us well. But I have an Alaska Airlines B of A visa card.  Can I give up my Frequent Flyer miles?  Maybe I can limit my Alaska Airlines Visa use just to airline tickets.  What about you?

The way to make the market work is to not do business with companies that don't treat you well.  That may mean giving some things up that you think you can't live without.  But you can.

Make a list of the companies that you patronize that treat you badly.  Then start planning your exit.  Find alternatives.  The market doesn't work if consumers have no choice, or think they don't.

By the way, using Google's reverse image function, I was able to put the chart into the image box and trace my way back.


  1. I love our credit union and I wholeheartedly agree with you. Whenever it was that Huffington Post started their "move your money" push, we decided to check out credit unions and small, local banks. We kicked B of A to the curb and never looked back. Just wish I would have done it sooner.

  2. I still keep my Ak Airlines CC though BofA mostly for airline tickets and internet purchases. I also opened an account at a local Alaskan bank, but I do think I should open an account at our local credit union as well. Never hurts to diversify.

  3. Unplug from the system as much as possible. Shut the corporation down. We are headed for a relatively permanent economic contraction, and a remodeling of the economic system. Eventually all paper assets will either disappear or inflate to worthlessness, depending on their relative usefulness. Paper and digital representations of money, and their derivatives are only as sound as your confidence in them.

    -Bank locally
    -Sell your IRAs and stocks, take the penalties, and buy gold, real assets, or education
    -Get out of debt, or better yet, stay out of debt in the first place
    -Buy locally, and relocalize in any way you can
    -Build local community

    Attend BioneersinAK next week, UAA, Oct. 14-16

  4. Steve, I'll write when I get back from a day trip to our property in the south of England today. Lots to add to this discussion from the perspective of another country.

  5. While I agree using credit unions is a good alternative, I worry that the powers behind the banks wills imply buy controlling interest in the credit unions. We need to keep our eyes on how they are regulated and ensure that the banks just don't move to take them over - overtly or covertly through affiliates.

    As to buying gold? Good freaking grief, do you have any idea what gold mining does to the environment? Wholesale rushes to buy gold simply escalate permanent damage to our water, air and food supply (see the debates and info on AK's proposed Pebble Mine - half the world's supply of salmon and other fishes are at stake, not to mention communities downriver and along Bristol Bay). Think twice and three times before jumping on the gold band wagon. Besides,what happens when gold prices plummet? They cycle, you know.

    Why not demand more regulation, not less? Why not get our collective duffs busy finding and electing politicians responsive to the average American and dedicated to reforming the elective process?

    Why run and hide? Why not reform the system instead of watch it either erode further or become a totally controlling one?

    I like the advice to use your assets to invest in your education and that of your family. Educated people are harder to control. We should also be more supportive of public education. Home schooling can easily turn to manipulation and indoctrination. Public education has always been an asset to the society.

    Building a sense of local community is crucial but so is actively participating in the state and national community. Becoming an engaged citizen is insurance against being manipulated by those who would use position and power against the general populace.

    In sum, it's like you said. We have to become more aware, more supportive of one another, more caring and more active. However, we should not retreat from the very real possibility that we can change things for the better, can save our culture from the far-right and can make a positive difference in our environment, physically, culturally, and politically.

    I grew up in the sixties and seventies. It too, was a doom-and-gloom atmosphere with real and perceived threats, but it was also a time of positive change. We have once become polarized, but I think it's because positive change is coming - we've just become complacent, content to play with our tech toys and distractions instead of being vigilant.

    We've allowed the richest amongst us to set the agenda. We simply have to remember that the few who would manipulate the many are accountable and can be held to task for the harm they do. We have laws in place to regulate them and we have to ensure those laws are not repealed or weakened.

    Most folks are good, decent and well-meaning folks (even most of the wealthy), but it only takes a few of the most powerful or most ambitious to turn a society upside down as they are trying to do now, fueled by greed, a desire for power, and/or religious zealotry.

    Taking simple steps like what you've recommended may snap most of them back into reality - that we are all in this together. Let's hope so.

  6. Hi, Steve. Back from our day trip and I thought better of adding much here other than to say we’ve kept our CU1 account in Alaska and will keep it. We are also looking at a number of new, progressive funds here in the UK for moving our IRA funds once we’ve passed the 59.5 years bar to doing so without tax penalty. 

    In essence, private capital can be commonwealth; while our discussion may focus on how to better our personal financial condition, I would hope we might push ourselves to see how our money can also leave the world better than when we first drew breath.

    Financial markets are shaped by group and individual actions. Many today are seeking ways to achieve a degree of financial security while insisting that their investments do public good. They’ve learned that how we use our money isn’t so much about what we wish to be, but who we are.

    And so, I wonder, what has Steve Jobs directed his wealth to do now? And what will I do with my own?

  7. Here's a Credit Union finding tool from the National Credit Union Administration -


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