San Francisco Occupy Activist Says CU Plans Moving Ahead
The creation of an Occupy-related credit union in San Francisco is moving forward with a proposed nine-member board now nearly in place, its lead organizer said this week.
“We hope to announce our board members by March 5 and it will include some well-known people in the community who we expect can help us get launched with $500,000 as a startup goal,” pledged Brian McKeown, the top Occupy advocate for the proposed People’s Reserve Credit Union.
Since November, organizers of People’s Reserve, who initially hope to sign up 500 members, have said the CU will serve San Francisco residents, businesses, nonprofits and city agencies.
The group said the goal is to encourage “a redistribution of funds out of the big banks into local interests in the form of micro-loans for the working poor and homeless and low-rate subsidized student loans.”
McKeown said he has been in touch with officials of the Department of Financial Institutions about the chartering. An agency spokeswoman said again last week no paperwork has been filed.
McKeown, who lived in the Occupy tent sites until police moved demonstrators out, said his working group of Occupy members remains committed to chartering a San Francisco CU.
OccupySF, the website name for the umbrella group, acknowledged once again it backs McKeown but said Peoples Reserve “operates separately from OccupySF but has overlap with a number of long-standing OccupySF participants who evolved the idea while working together at OccupySF.”
McKeown has said he leans toward forming a state-chartered CU since he is apprehensive about the reach of a federal charter.
McKeown also told Credit Union Times he has been in touch with Occupy groups in California and across the country, including Boston and in Los Angeles and Orange counties, and many are interested in the proposed People’s Reserve CU’s progress as a business model.
McKeown said a rally last Saturday on behalf of credit union support was held in Irvine, Calif. by an Orange County Occupy group. “I was unable to get down there but the information was streamed” for virtual access, he said.
In terms of procedure, McKeown said the People’s Reserve group may be further along on charter implementation.
On Wednesday, an Irvine group known as Occupy First issued what it called its “first inaugural assembly newsletter” describing the Saturday session held in the Irvine City Hall. The newsletter touched on the efforts to form a nonprofit firm to align with CUs and switch accounts away from banks. The newsletter also discussed how residents of Vashon Island, Wash. have organized their own credit union.