Opinion

Put your money where your mouth is

I have a confession to make. Despite signing several letters addressed to President Brian Rosenberg explaining why Macalester should divest from Wells Fargo; despite being a member of MPIRG which is a member organization of the Kick Wells Fargo Off Campus coalition; despite being supportive of the national Kick Wall Street Off Campus campaign happening across the country, I bank with Wells Fargo. Yes, I am somewhat of a hypocrite.

In my defense, it is much easier for me to place my money in a big, trans-national bank, since I am from out-of state. Also, Wells Fargo is the closest bank to my house back home. These two factors led me, at first, to not consider moving my money when I was first acquainted with the idea.  But after much thought I have decided to change banks.

Though my savings are meager and moving my money will most likely be insignificant in the grand scheme of things, changing banks symbolizes something much greater than my service is worth. Changing banks enables me to clearly say that I do not agree with Wells Fargo’s and other big banks’ practices.  When I move my money, I will be making a moral stand.

After all, big banks like Wells Fargo are directly responsible for the economic crash in 2008. And, though they received billions of dollars worth of bailout from taxpayers, they continue to foreclose on the homes of the very people whose money has allowed them to continue to function. By contrast, smaller, local banks invest more in small businesses and are less likely to unjustly foreclose on families because community members can actually hold them accountable. Changing banks seems like an ethical no-brainer.

That being said, moving your money can seem like a daunting task. Where would you even start? Do you first have to take your money out or do you open your new account first? Who do you inform that you’re moving your money? How do you even choose which bank to move your money to? Luckily, on Tuesday, February 27, MPIRG will host a statewide Move Your Money Day, which aims to educate students on how to move money from big banks like Wells Fargo into banks and credit unions with better practices.

On Move Your Money Day MPIRG will provide education on how to move money, including representatives from local banks and credit unions available to help and inform students on their banking practices. MPIRG didn’t pick this day accidentally; we are acting in solidarity with Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, a powerful community coalition of workers, homeowners, and neighbors. Our Move Your Money Day falls right in the middle of their Week of Action, specifically on the day targeting housing and banks issues. Luckily for us as Mac students, the entire Day of Action will start right here. The Kick Wells Fargo Off Campus coalition will host an on-campus rally at 10:40, and then, around lunchtime, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy will bus students to a demonstration at the Capitol.

After that, participating students can go the home of a woman being foreclosed on to provide support, and a march on Wells Fargo will conclude the day’s events. MPIRG will be there all day as a resource for you to use your individual money to make an important statement.Though changing banks may be a purely symbolic act with little monetary weight, it still sends the message that the practices that big banks like Wells Fargo participate in are not okay, and that we will not stand by and let it happen.

February 22, 2013

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