[Noisebridge-discuss] community banks?

walter park waltsfo at gmail.com
Tue Nov 1 09:22:25 PDT 2011

I utterly agree that we need systemic bank reform, so BofA et al, if still
viable a year from now, don't swallow up every Little Bank in the country.
I used to bank at Hibernia, a small bank on Castro Street.  Then it became
part of four other banks before finally being swallowed by BofA.  (When
customers are more stable than their banks, we have trouble.)

But, moving money out of the Big Banks is a step to create pressure for
systemic reform, so it's still a good idea.

I've been banking at San Francisco Federal Credit Union since 1999.  They
used to be the SF City Employee Credit Union, just as the Fire Credit Union
used to be only for local fireifghters.  Anyone who lives or works in SF
can open an account there.  They're nice people.

They DO have computers!  I don't think doubling their customer base will
lead to mass RSI.  Their main branch is at 770 Golden Gate, a few block
north of City Hall.  They have three (count 'em -- 3) ATMs in the Civic
Center area.  But they belong to the same Credit Union union of ATM others
do, so you can use many.  I do nearly everything online, anyway.

As to the 'big' financial services they don't offer:  There are some.

The housing coop i live in tried to refi through them a few years ago, but
we categorized as 'commercial,' not single-family housing, even though
we're a non-profit homeowner group, so they wouldn't.  But then our big-ass
bank, Wells Fargo, the same year sent us a letter saying, 'We just
abolished your $100,000 line of credit -- not because of a damned thing
about YOUR finances or payment history, which is perfect, but because of
ours!'  Don't count on Big Bank services as lenders.

I recommend that NB move AN account with SOME money over to a local credit
union.  NB can still keep a toe in the Big Bank water, if we think we may
need them someday.


On Tue, Nov 1, 2011 at 04:36, girlgeek <girlgeek at wt.net> wrote:

>  I have a strong feeling that Move Your Money is going to be a mixed
> blessing to all involved.  These are small, sometimes sleepy institutions
> that often rely on doing less common operations manually because that is
> appropriate to current scale.  What is going to happen when the sudden
> influx of customers overwhelms manual operations?
> I strongly support move your money.  I also recommend patience with your
> new institutions while they scale up.  Consider how good it will be for
> community investing if we all move our money into small banks, and then
> just as they commit finances to new systems we move our money back out.
> Pessimistically I also wonder how much we are going to see of cases of
> moving our money to Little Bank of San Francisco only to find six months
> later that Little Bank of San Francisco is bought by Bank of America.  I
> guess this is why we need various legislation.
> -Claudia
> On 10/31/2011 6:25 PM, Olya K wrote:
> Does anyone have experience with New Resources Bank?
> https://www.newresourcebank.com/
>  Apparently they're about sustainability..
>  Olya
> On Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 10:22 PM, Ryan Rawson <ryanobjc at gmail.com> wrote:
>> charles schwab is great - smartphone checking deposits and refund of
>> ATM fees.  no cash services, but oh well.
>> On Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 10:16 PM, Nick P <nickbp at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > SF Fire does have a catch -- their deposits are only privately
>> > insured. Since the insurance risk pool is far smaller compared to
>> > FDIC/NCUA, and since they lack government backing, if one member
>> > institution fails, there is a much greater risk of a panicked run
>> > powerful enough to bring down all other member institutions, even
>> > those which may have been solvent before the run began.
>> >
>> > To put it a bit plainly, SF Fire's management decided a few years ago
>> > that saving a bit on deposit insurance fees was worth the tradeoff of
>> > more risk for their members' deposits. So if you do decide to go with
>> > them, I don't recommend leaving a significant amount of money in your
>> > account. See also: the failure of RISDIC back in 1991, which closed 45
>> > institutions and froze 300,000 accounts, and the similar failures in
>> > Ohio and Maryland in 1985:
>> > http://www.bos.frb.org/economic/neer/neer1993/neer393a.pdf
>> >
>> > I use USAA checking myself; their banking is open to all. They, Schwab
>> > Bank, and Ally Bank all offer ATM refunds, but if you frequently need
>> > to see a banker in person then these are probably not too practical,
>> > since they mostly do things by internet/phone/mail, but with things
>> > like free postage-paid deposit envelopes, they're a good option for
>> > most people.
>> >
>> > Mechanics Bank also offers ATM refunds with their Relationship
>> > Checking account, though they're mostly East Bay, with the exception
>> > of a branch in the financial district.
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