Is taking all of our money out of the big banks part of the solution to America's financial problems? The truth is that people across the United States are angrier about financial and economic issues than they ever have been in modern history. It did not sit well with millions upon millions of hard working Americans to watch their tax dollars being used to fund multi-million dollar bonuses at big financial institutions that were just bailed out by the U.S. government. It made Americans even angrier when these big banks that got the bailouts actually decreased their lending. It has been the big banks who got the massive government-funded bailouts who have been hoarding their cash, while the local community banks and credit unions that have been serving their customers loyally for generations have been left to die by the feds. Now the banking industry in the United States is more centralized than ever. At the end of 2007, the "Big Four" U.S. banks - Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo - held 32 percent of all deposits in FDIC-insured institutions. As of June 30th of last year it was 39 percent.
So are we going to let the big banks swallow the whole pie or are we going to do something about it?
Well, there are some people who are doing something about it. Arianna Huffington and Rob Johnson of the Huffington Post have started "The Move Your Money Campaign" which calls on all Americans to take their money out of these big banks and put it into smaller community banks and credit unions.
So is it working? A recent Zogby Interactive poll found that 9% of all U.S. adults have already taken some of their business away from big banks as a protest.
The reality is that it is impossible to vote the bankers out of their positions. So if we want to change the banking system, perhaps the best way is to take our cash away from the bankers.
But will it work?
Are the big banks simply too big and too powerful to even be bothered by a protest of this nature?
Perhaps, but nothing great was ever accomplished by not trying.
When they began this campaign at the end of last year, Arianna Huffington and Rob Johnson described their reasoning this way....
The big banks on Wall Street, propped up by taxpayer money and government guarantees, have had a record year, making record profits while returning to the highly leveraged activities that brought our economy to the brink of disaster. In a slap in the face to taxpayers, they have also cut back on the money they are lending, even though the need to get credit flowing again was one of the main points used in selling the public the bank bailout. But since April, JP Morgan/Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo -- all of which took billions in taxpayer money -- have cut lending to businesses by $100 billion.
Meanwhile, America's Main Street community banks -- the vast majority of which avoided the banquet of greed and corruption that created the toxic economic swamp we are still fighting to get ourselves out of -- are struggling. Many of them have closed down (or been taken over by the FDIC) over the last 12 months. The government policy of protecting the Too Big and Politically Connected to Fail is badly hurting the small banks, which are having a much harder time competing in the financial marketplace. As a result, a system which was already dangerously concentrated at the top has only become more so.
How else are we going to hold these bankers accountable? They have abused us and have abused the entire financial system, so they do not deserve our business any longer.
To promote The Move Your Money Campaign, filmmaker/author Eugene Jarecki produced the stirring YouTube video posted below. This video makes it exceedingly clear why we all need to start boycotting the big banks immediately.....
Please share this video with all of your friends and family. The reality is that the U.S. government has made it abundantly clear that the big banks are "too big to fail" and will always get bailed out, while all of the small banks and credit unions will be allowed to die and their assets will be divided up by the sharks.
If that does not sound like a good plan to you, then do something about it.
Pull your money out of the big banks.
Encourage your friends and family to do the same.
Otherwise the banking system of the United States will soon be concentrated in the hands of just a few and then we will all pay the price.