First it was Seattle and now Portland considering the idea of moving funds from banks to CUs in an apparent fallout from Bank Transfer Day and the Occupy movement in the Northwest.
Portland Mayor Sam Adams said this week he will pursue a plan to move Portland’s funds “out of national banks and into local credit unions” as part of a campaign to support local institutions.
An announced candidate in next year’s mayoral election, state Rep. Jefferson Smith, said he too shares Adams’ view.
Other city leaders noted that Wells Fargo holds the largest amount of city funds which would be placed into credit unions once a collateralized pool system is arranged. The Northwest Credit Union Association has said it is developing such a plan next year to accommodate municipalities’ funds should that take place.
“Our proposal is not some assault on Wall Street — indeed, our modest local government resources won’t break or make big banks,” Smith said in a letter to supporters. “At its core, our proposal is about how we operate as a city and how we try to grow our economy. Not-for-profit financial institutions, like credit unions, don’t pay boards or stockholders, meaning they are able to offer depositors advantageous interest rates, and a credit union’s earnings are more likely to stay within the local area.”
Meanwhile, Seattle City Council voted unanimously last week to review the city’s funds practices that could lead to the removal of city funds from large banks. The resolution was sponsored by Councilmen Nick Licata and Mike O’Brien, both of whom announced on Bank Transfer Day that they were joining CUs.
In Oregon, Smith said in his letter that as Occupy’s “99% movement take shape, many of us are wondering what we can do to invest in Main Street more than Wall Street. I'm writing to ask you to join me because there is something modest and tangible that Portland can and should do.”