Ellie Fired her Bank! And so can you.

 

Read below about how ROP member Ellie Pope told WaMu "You’re Fired!"
Join Ellie’s movement or go your own direction, we’ve got some ideas for your group right here!

 

We are facing two separate yet equal and interrelated crises right now. Oregonians have immediate needs – food, housing, family wage jobs. Harney County unemployment is topping 20% for example. But we also have a system that is failing us – taking money out of our communities, creating a huge gap between the rich and the regular folks & destroying our good paying jobs.

We need action and solutions that both contribute to building strong communities as well as dismantle the systems that are destroying working people.

ROP knows that we don’t have the golden answer, but we do have some ideas.

  • How would you like to Fire Your Bank? Or even better, how would you like to get your city to fire their bank and invest our money in local institutions like Credit Unions or Community Banks? How could it build our community & bring jobs to have our money invested in local places whose number one priority is you, the people?
  • What about a Building a Just Economy for Working People forum where you can craft your own ideas and bring in new people from a variety of communities to explore local solutions? Imagine peaceniks, labor unions, the chamber, enviros & the local credit union together at last.
  • What if your garden was about more than growing food but about growing a movement? Can we understand how poverty and hunger are political crimes when such abundance exists in our world?
  • What do you think about asking your county to only Buy American products and use only American labor with their stimulus money? Would that be xenophobic or smart local investing?

What else could we do?! How do you want to be involved?

Ellie Pope in Columbia County decided it was time to give Washington Mutual the heave hoe after the bailouts, the buyouts and the customer sellouts. Read about how Ellie Fired Her Bank below!

The time is ripe for a new economy and we know ROP members are up to the task. Of course, no movement is built alone — get your groups on board and contact ROP to connect your actions into the statewide movement that can make real change.

La Lucha Sigue.

PS. Benton County is already one step ahead in figuring out how we got into this mess and how we can get out of it with stronger communities that provide good jobs, high standards of living and healthy people. Corvallis is hosting a forum with ROP and our guest speaker on the Economic Collapse & Building a Just Economy for Working People. (Corvallis Public Library, June 9, 6:30-8:30pm contact cara@rop.org for more.)

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WaMu, You’re Fired!
by Ellie Pope

 

After reading the e-mails from our ROP friends about the monthly Kitchen Table Activity (KTA) project for April, I felt inspired to do something about my banking situation.

In Columbia County we have a couple of highly visible Federal Credit Unions, but I had never paid much attention to them before. I was very satisfied with Washington Mutual and had been with them for some 15+ years. I decided to do some research on WaMu and learned a lot about their history and how they evolved into a JP Morgan Chase acquisition. Then I went to the credit union’s website to see what they had to offer.

When I went to interview the credit union, I brought my questions from ROP. I told the credit union employee that I belonged to ROP, and explained to her what was going on with the KTA; she was surprised and pleased. I’d had already made up my mind that I was going to make the change and so I proceeded to open an account with St. Helens Credit Union. I was given an informative packet to help me with contacting all my auto-pay accounts and how to make the transition from one bank to another…I was pleased to learn that the Credit Union offers all of the same services that I had become accustomed to, like auto-pay for example. I am still working on getting everyone on the same page as I am, and I recommend leaving your old account open for a month or so to make sure everyone on auto-pay is switched over to your new account.

After spending about 30 minutes talking to the bank assistant, I felt assured that I was doing the right thing. She assured me that they have a lot of commercial accounts in the county and that they never got into the risky mortgage lending trap that all the large banks succumbed to. Knowing that the employees and depositors are all from my community gave me a great feeling that I was truly supporting my neighbors and not the monster banks that got us into this mess. When everything is completely switched, then I will be able to eagerly “Fire My Bank.”

Keeping our money local,

Ellie Pope

From a later interview conducted by Ellie Pope with Jeff Schwartz, the CEO of Saint Helens Community Federal Credit Union:

What is your mission in lending?

“To help the financial lives of people in the community.”

What percentage is invested locally (in our county, region, etc.)?

100% is invested locally.

Would you be happy to see many more depositors?

We would love to have more depositors switch over to the Credit Union, and we have already seen an “incredible growth in last 60 days.” Ideally, we would like to see equal amount of investing and lending, and right now, people aren’t asking for money like they used to, they’re much more cautious. A lot of the county, city, utilities, school boards, and local non-profits already invest with us.

 

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