Why this Activity? Over the last year, ROPers have been considering who holds our money and just what those banking institutions stand for. What we’ve learned is that many of us already bank with local institutions – institutions that are more likely to keep our money invested in our communities and more likely to be democratic. Nationally the “Move Your Money” campaign has taken fire, and people all over the country are researching their local banking institutions and moving their funds into credit unions and community banks. This month Kitchen Table Activism is to consider just how you and your group might want to ramp up our Move Our Money efforts, and put Oregon in the national spotlight as a state that prioritizes local banking, not big bank profits.
What is the Activity? There are two advances in local banking that make it possible to take the Move Our Money efforts one step further: an Oregon State Bank and the Public Funds & Credit Unions Legislation. At the Rural Caucus and Strategy Session in April, we heard from two leaders in the state on this issues, Barbara Dudley of the Oregon State Bank Working Group and Working Families Party and Troy Stang of the Credit Union Association of Oregon. There was almost an electric energy in the room during this 75 minute session as over 40 of us consider the possibility and potential of reworking banking in Oregon.
The momentum behind creating an Oregon State Bank has grown over the last year. Check out this overview of the Oregon State Bank and visit www.banknd.com to study the North Dakota State Bank, the only state bank in the US. There will be a hearing at the Oregon Legislature on May 25th where the President of the North Dakota State Bank will testify via video. Conversations with community leadership, legislators, local banking institutions are in motion to continue to build support. Our organizing needs to focus on building support with community leadership, legislators and their constituents/our neighbors.
HB 3700, Public Funds & Credit Unions Legislation, passed during the February special legislative session. HB 3700 increases the amount of public funds that credit unions can accept in Oregon in 2013. This means that if a credit union and local government entity choose, there is now an option for depositing funds above the $250,000 federal limit. Read an overview of what this legislation does.
While DC battles out whether or not we will see financial regulation, let’s employ some Hometown Strategies in our communities to ensure our money is staying in Oregon, and our banking institutions are democratic.
Steps to Complete This Activity:
1. Gather your human dignity group, supporters, allies and friends and get informed:
• Read these short overviews on the Oregon State Bank and HB 3700: Public Funds & Credit Unions.
• Visit www.banknd.com to learn more about the Bank of North Dakota.
• Check out Southern Oregon’s Local Banking Brochure. If you’d like to create one for your community, we can help. Email cara(at)rop.org for details.
2. Create your group’s plan on how you want to engage your supporters, community members and leaders, and legislators on these issues. Options include:
• Continue to encourage individuals and organizations to move their money to credit unions and community banks (Contact cara(at)rop.org for a survey to check out how democratic your local banks/credit unions are.)
• Talk to community members, community leadership & local banking institutions to build support for an Oregon State Bank
• Talk to legislators about an Oregon State Bank & attend the hearing on May 25th in Salem at 1pm. Email cara(at)rop.org for full details.
• Start conversations with city councilors, mayor, and local municipalities about the possibility of moving their money in 2013
• Draft resolutions to be passed by local organizations and municipalities in support of the Oregon State Bank and Moving Our Money
3. Let ROP know what actions you take and how we can help. And let us know if you would like to be a part of the ROP Move Our Money working group Contact cara(at)rop.org for support and further information on any of these activities.