A non-profit group is working to get larger entities, rather than individuals, to remove their money from big banks and put them in community banks or credit unions.

The group, New Bottom Line, has taken credit for a total of $54.2 million in deposits removed from big banks by their members. Their ‘Move Our Money’ campaign, started at the beginning of this month, had moved $50 million by the end of its first week.

Bigger Organizations, Deeper Wallets

Hundreds of organizations, from community organizing groups to union chapters, joined in the first week, helping drain $50 million from big bank coffers in the process. Notably, Mike Fox — a wealthy Bay Area businessman — pulled $8-10 million of his, his business’, and his family’s money from Bank of America (NYSE:BAC).

“It is going to take wealthy people divesting to send B of A the message that they need to stop foreclosing on our families and stop making money off the backs of our homeowners,” said Fox in prepared remarks. “It’s going to take all of us to send that message.”

Unlike Bank Transfer Day, which encouraged individuals (quite successfully) to pull their deposits out of banks, to punish them for a laundry list of complaints — being greedy, raising fees, taking TARP bailouts, not paying taxes, foreclosing on homes, etc — New Bottom Line’s ‘Move Our Money’ campaign aims to hit the banks even harder by convincing institutions and businesses to do the same thing. With their much deeper wallets, institutional clients will teach banks that much bigger a lesson.

There are, after all, few Mike Foxes in the world. But municipalities are playing the game too. In fact, they were there first.

Municipalities Pull Their Cash, Too

Hempstead, NY, a small working-class town on Long Island, decided early this year to remove its $12 million in deposits from Chase Bank, and moved them to TD Bank. Perhaps this was a lateral move of sorts, but Canada’s financial sector didn’t ruin our economy, and Wall Street did.

But this has been inspirational to other municipalities, according to NPR, who reports that nearby Freeport, NY has followed suit, as well as Binghampton, NY, further upstate. Both pulled their deposits out of their corporate retail bank accounts.

Ultimately, New Bottom Line aims to pull $1 billion in deposits from Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, “and other big banks,” moving the money to credit unions and community banks.

From their mission statement we learn the meaning of the name: “Too many politicians are catering to Wall Street. Their concern? Wall Street’s Bottom Line. We need a new bottom line that puts the economic interests and financial security of working American families first.”

For any interested parties New Bottom Line has made a toolkit for divesting from Wall Street.

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  • Coop

    It’s time for NY to pass Municipal Depository Choice legislation (S.3942/A.5045-A) to allow municipalities to deposit funds in credit unions, savings banks or savings and load associations.  Currently they are limited to depositing only in “commercial banks.” 

  • Most companies won’t endure all the hassles of switching banks over philosophical ideals beyond just thumbing one’s nose at big banks. While individual consumers may be free to switch on something as whimsical as one’s feelings, business managers are required to have the rationale and reasoning to back up their decisions. Businesses expect to see a clear benefit to the bottom line. Inasmuch, success of the “Move Our Money” initiative will hinge on how well these benefits are communicated to business executives and corporate decision makers.