Here’s a short article about the financial health of Credit Unions – which are small, locally owned and managed by members, not for profit Financial Institutions. Mollie Bell (quoted in the article) and I worked together at CUNA Mutual group which supports the Credit Union Movement. It is my opinion that all of us should shift our financial dealings from Banks to Credit Unions. Do you agree? What would happen if people moved away from Banks and towards Credit Unions?
The Banks would probably become even more aggressive in their ongoing efforts to undermine Credit Unions. Their lobby is huge and powerful, and it has been causing legislative pressure against Credit Unions for decades. But Credit Unions would benefit from awareness on the part of consumer that they represent a fundamentally different option. Even a relatively small number of new customers can represent significant growth for these small, local entities, and local communities benefit from local control of financial systems.
Why doesn’t shifting from Banks to Credit Unions get more attention? Is it because corporate interests own too many pieces of our soul – shifting our thinking and decisions away from our own best interest? What can we do in response?
One area of focus is to buy local. Purchasing local products, including financial products, is a way to make a major contribution to sustainable local economies.
The virtue I drew through which to look at this topic was Peacefulness. Inner calm, tranquility, a sense of harmony with all creation. In reflecting on how that applies here, I realize that participating in a for profit financial institution increases the antagonism and animosity that goes along with our competitive profit-driven age. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a communist – I believe in ownership and that everyone should benefit from their labors. Everyone should profit from applying themselves diligently to whatever craft or trade they have chosen.
But Credit Unions help us see that cooperative models are useful and powerful in counteracting the unsustainable aggregation of wealth exemplified by mega banks and “Too Big to Fail” institutions. We can go on the warpath against them, or perhaps simply moving our business to a Credit Union is enough to reverse the trend. It is certainly a peaceful way to contribute to a change in the dynamic between the extremely wealthy and those who struggle to achieve a stable middle-class income.