The notion of Occupy protesters starting credit unions across the country after they get one formed in San Francisco was being raised this week by one of the organizers of that effort.
Meanwhile, talks on creation of People’s Reserve Credit Union continued with the California Department of Financial Institutions.
Brian Mckeown, who calls himself an “Occupy camper” and a supporter of the credit union business model, said the buzz began after a dozen or more activists encamped in a San Francisco park first seized on CU creation as a viable alternative to support the underserved Occupy’s viral network.
“We’ve heard all over from Wall Street, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania Occupy groups wanting more information from us on how we are doing it,” said Mckeown.
Initial corporate documents, he said, were filed before Thanksgiving with the California Secretary of State’s office. A spokeswoman for the California DFI said agency staffers “have spoken with a People’s Reserve representative regarding the application process.”
A press release issued by Occupy said People’s Reserve would start with 500 members, a $7 million capital goal and offer such services as “micro-loans for the working poor and homeless and subsidized student loans at low interest rates.”
Mckeown, a graduate of San Francisco State, said he knows enough about CU structure and lending from a small business background to understand the financial scope of the project.
He stressed that the proposed CU would not become a funds giveaway “supporting the middle class” but would adopt strict due diligence policies.
He said People’s Reserve, which looks to get paperwork started with DFI in January, is already scouting possible leases for its first branch in the Market Street corridor of downtown San Francisco.
Meanwhile, Mckeown dismissed as simply a nuisance a complaint by another camper identified as Robert Benson who has challenged Mckeown as leading a “rogue” group in Occupy without official sanction.
Mckeown said Benson has been a “polarizing figure” in Occupy and has “misperceptions” about the People’s Reserve mission. Benson has not responded to Credit Union Times’ emails for comment.