Occupy-Inspired Credit Union Another Step Near Launch, Organizers Say
People’s Reserve Credit Union, an in-the-works cooperative that sprouted out of the Occupy movement in San Francisco, is gaining momentum, with active board and advisory committee participation taking place and fundraising projects planned, its organizers said.
Backers said People’s Reserve CU has met the California Department of Financial Institutions’ requirements for a new credit union and is now focusing on raising capital to launch the credit union’s San Francisco-based operations and open its first branch.
In a press release, organizers said fundraising efforts will include the distribution of a video public service announcement telling the People’s Reserve CU story, a social media campaign and a partnership with the Ethix Merchant Services in Oakland, Calif., an independent sales organization that offers merchant account credit card processing services to businesses and non-profits.
The People’s Reserve CU board includes Brian McKeown, an Occupy leader who has held the reins of the People’s Reserve CU project; Bianca Velishek, vice president for the California League of Women Voters; Abdus Salam, Rajshahi division chief executive for Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, and Sara Batterby, chief development officer for Ethix Merchant Services.
Advisory committee members include Geoff MacDonald, director of asset management for the Community Housing Partnership in San Francisco; Dan Leibsohn, CEO for Community Development Finance in Oakland; San Francisco entrepreneur and community action group advisor Brent Turner and attorney Josh Irwin.
“We are excited to have come this far,” McKeown said. “I have had thousands of conversations with people wanting to help and the support has been overwhelming. Now we need to convert that into our fundraising efforts and get to work using local money to build opportunity and community where it is most needed.”
Plans for the new credit union were first announced in November 2011. Founders say the goal of People’s Reserve CU is to develop a sustainable, replicable working model and best practices that allow residents and local governments to move their money into a member-owned financial institution that directly serves local interests.