As protestors continue to occupy Wall Street and consumers across the country are increasingly outraged by the abusive practices of mega-banks, Green America is urging Americans to “break up” with their mega-banks and, instead, shift their money to community investing institutions nationwide. The latest outrageous mega-bank gouging of consumers: the rise of the $5 monthly debit card fee at Bank of America and Citi charging up to $20 per month for not maintaining a minimum balance in checking accounts.
Unlike mega-banks, community investing institutions serve local communities, providing loans to support affordable housing, small businesses, and social services. They often lend money to people overlooked by big banks, such as women entrepreneurs, green businesses, and people providing vital services in their communities, such as child care. Also unlike mega-banks, community investing institutions do not engage in abusive and predatory banking practices, since they have a mission of building communities.
Over the past 10 years, the funds invested in community investing institutions grew from $5 billion in assets to nearly $40 billion. Much of this growth has been fueled by individual investors. To help individuals break up with their mega-bank, Green America provides resources, including a comprehensive guide for finding community investing options (available free as a download, and in print copies to individuals, or in bulk to community organizations), and stories of consumers who have broken up with their mega-banks and made the switch to community investing institutions.
When you break up with your mega-bank, make sure to email them or send them a letter, letting them know why. The more customers they lose due to rip-offs, predatory practices, and their role in the economic collapse, the better. And let us know you broke up with your bank! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.