Can SF follow Berkeley in dumping the big banks?


The City of Berkeley is considering dropping its contract with Wells Fargo and moving the city's money to a credit union or a smaller community bank. That makes perfect sense -- the Move Your Money Project has been urging individuals to do that, and there's no reason why cities (which are huge customers of banking services) can't do the same.

In fact, San Francisco ought to be next on the list.

This city puts all of its short-term money in Bank of America. It's a lot of cash -- if the city spends more than $6 billion a year, much of that at some point goes into a city account and most of the checks the city issues are paid on that account. We're talking a plum deal for a big bank -- particularly since the city's checks aren't going to bounce and the money comes in steadily.

Why B of A? Because the contract is put out to bid, and B of A was able to offer the best deal. But the bidding process didn't consider the issues that Occupy has brought up -- nor did it consider the number of local jobs that could be generated if the city put its money in a local bank that actually makes local loans to small businesses and homeowners instead of foreclosing on people and shipping the profits back to North Carolina every night.

I don't know if there's a local credit union or community bank big enough to handle the business of a client the size of San Francisco -- but there's no reason the entire contract has to go to one bank.

Besides, we could always create our own.


SEIU at the same time I tried to be a member of a credit union (patelco).

It was hard to tell what group was more useless at the time, the people I had to interact with at the credit union or the union leadership at 1390 Market.

I was in awe of the similarities of my dealing with both.

Credit unions may have their advantages, but watching credit union employees wonder around aimlessly talking to co workers with your paper work in their hands, while treating customers like they are doing the world a favor by doing what their job required, it was a little slice of what it must have been like to live in communist Eastern Europe. Calling and getting lithium induced rambling from the people who answered the phones or attempting to explain over the phone situations that must happen on a daily basis... It was like watching Rainbow Grocery employees on downers.

Wells Fargo and it's employees false sincerity is creepy but at least they are generally employable and don't act like they are doing the world a favor by doing what they are hired to do.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 27, 2012 @ 2:19 am

Matlock is mainly here to promote big banks and bash progressives. Few of us take him seriously, because it's obvious what he's up to. He's the exact definition of a troll.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

Wells hires good customer service folks and it goes a long way, you are projecting Matty

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

On this narrow point, I agree with matlock. They're SOOOO false and creepy. That fake customer service smile -yuck! In the wake of campaign to take your money out, I've noticed that they've all been instructed to add "Thanks for doing business with us," delivered with a lugubrious smile of course.

And yes, yes, I know this means I have an account with them. We also have a Patelco account. I'm sure matlcok will be the first to pounce on me for being a hypocrite. Truth be told, I'm just lazy. I've been meaning to get off my butt and close the Wells account.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 29, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

The false sincerity is annoying at Wells Fargo.

I've seen some of these people a few times a week for years and they always have to do the corporate thing with me. It's weird.

Patelco's false sense of ability is worse.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 29, 2012 @ 9:44 pm

I don't think they're incompetent. I think you're full of it and have an agenda.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 30, 2012 @ 12:00 am

to single handedly close all credit unions with my posts on this web page.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 30, 2012 @ 1:48 am

I go there a couple of times a week, it's like the Hooters girls being schooled in how to get tips by pretending that they hate their jobs. Manipulative and weird. I BS with the short term younger ones and we chuckle about it as they look both ways.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 29, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

everyone is cool, attractive, really attractive! and they deal well with corporate pressure to meet ridiculous goals, they dont robo pitch like BofA tellers and agents- but this is why I love capitalism- when I need a loan or something important, I can just march down the street to a faster-cheaper financial institution

Posted by Guest on Jan. 30, 2012 @ 10:11 pm

My experience with credit unions - Patelco, Keypoint, and SF Federal - is that they have friendly and knowledgeable staffs, they return phone calls, they have lower fees, they offer better loans, and they have all the same services as most banks.

They do not nickel-and-dime you, and even offer friendly advice, like when I was paying an certain fee, the customer service agent on the phone suggested I switch to a different account type that would better serve me and save me more money.

They did not push, or even offer, risky subprime mortages, they did not participate in the credit swaps that profited off of failed mortgages, or robo-sign foreclosures to kick people out of their homes.

They do not participate in lobbying to deregulate the banking industry, and they did not need or take bailout money.

In short, they perform business practices with integrity because they are not beholden to shareholders. It's really that simple, and the City should absolutely transfer our public money away from the people who are undeniably responsible for a big fat chunk of our economic meltdown.

Posted by NicoleGuest on Jan. 28, 2012 @ 5:11 am

The way I see it, there's no downside. We'd create jobs AND save taxpayer money!

Posted by Greg on Jan. 28, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

thank you NicoleGuest, for your incites and for sharing your experiences in your post, "Credit Unions Are the Future".

btw, Supervisor John Avalos has spoken about creating a San Francisco Municipal Bank, similar to North Dakota's state-owned Bank of North Dakota, where all of the state's agencies are required to place their funds.

according to wikipedia, the Bank of North Dakota serves as the state's central bank, and was initially created in 1919 as a credit-union style institution to protect North Dakotan farmers from predatory lenders.

and re: the comment posted by matlock.... my family has had good experiences with Patelco, we did not experience what you said about the employees wandering "around aimlessly talking to co workers with your paper work in their hands"... maybe you had a bad experience that one time, but i don't think it's at all fair to make such a gross generalization about credit union employees based on that, and i especially think the comparison to Eastern European Communist rule went way too far. plus i LOVE Rainbow Grocery; i absolutely love that store, and i really appreciate having it in the city.

and NicoleGuest's points about how credit unions have not pressured people into subprime mortgages, performed credit default swaps and other illegal and ridiculous financial games and gambling, robo-signed people's foreclosures, took out bailout money after doing all of those shenanigans, etc. etc., is really important in distinguishing credit unions and local community banks from the very predatory, greedy (not to mention illegal) practices of the Big Banks, Wall Street, and the other big financial institutions.

let's stop being slaves to money, gambling, and easy credit!!!

Posted by Happy Penguins on Jan. 29, 2012 @ 10:00 am

Bank of North Dakota

Posted by Happy Penguins on Jan. 29, 2012 @ 10:01 am

so it won't happen any time soon. He is a repubicrat, just like the sainted Dianne Feinstein.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

i hate the mentality of big banks -- the power trips, the hierarchical systems in play, the dominant culture thinking they are winning the game of 'survival of the fittest' by taking jobs in the asshole of society. not to mention where all that money goes, to continually DOMINATE the rest of society.... investing in games of control, of power over morale, of profit over health, of domination over sharing... wtf are we encouraging??

i love rainbow grocery, but its true that in the past rainbow has had way too many people on downers! there is a weird division at rainbow (well, this division is everywhere, but it is even more appalling when it is supposedly at a 'conscious' business...) but some folks at rainbow definitely think they are 'better than you' because of where they are in life. some of them seem to look at other with disgust, and distaste, and they customer service is horrible. also, there are some rainbow employees that love their jobs, and they love the customers, and they love helping people -- but at the moment of writing this, i'd put it at about half -- which is a long ways to go!

but where can i find good info on local credit unions, the pros and the cons. the fact checks. i haven't had a bank account in 10 years, but i'm considering opening an account....

any ideas?

Posted by aero on May. 24, 2012 @ 9:48 am

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