Please let us know as soon as possible if you might be able to come out to join us this Weds. (Apr. 4th) at 4:30 pm for our Rally to Divest Dutchess County from Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo-- in front of our County Office Building at 22 Market Street in Poughkeepsie!...
Scroll down just a bit to see resolution from yours truly on this-- co-sponsored by Conservative Co. Leg. Jim Doxsey-- it'll actually be on the Co. Leg. Committee Day agenda this coming Thurs.-- April 5th(!)...
As always, your letters to all 25 of us in the Co. Leg. matter; email email@example.com!
Thanks again much to OccupyPoughkeepsie.org for inspiration to us to go forward on this; many times last fall Occupy Poughkeepsie rallies and marches stopped in front of JPMorgan Chase on Main Street in Poughkeepsie; many from Occupy Poughkeepsie also joined me for rallies I organized last year in front of Bank of America on Market St./Poughkeepsie-- now is our chance to change policy!...(update-- a number of Occupy Poughkeepsie folks at today's Justice for Trayvon rally told me they'd try to come out for Weds. rally-- so join us Weds. if you can)!...
Kudos to Harold Miller of New York Communities for Change for his success across NYS in getting municipalities to divest from irresponsible financial institutions like Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, etc. (back in January I introduced Harold to key Occupy Poughkeepsie members; soon afterwards he came down to speak at O-Pok. workshop)...
[H. Miller and New York Communities for Change have already been effective in getting the town of Ithaca and villages of Hempstead and Freeport to divest from irresponsible banking institutions like Bank of America (in those three cases, it was JP Morgan Chase)-- see much more on this here-- http://www.nycommunities.org/taxonomy/term/2 ;
http://www.alternet.org/economy/150387/2_3rds_of_us_corporations_pay_zero_federal_taxes%3A_us_uncut_movement_builds_to_make_them_pay_up/ ; http://www.USUncut.org.]
Recall this as well...
"Members of the Albany County Legislature are calling for the county to pull its money from Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. The 25 legislators signed a proclamation urging John McPhillips, commissioner of management and budget, to close the county's $90 million account from Bank of America and to discontinue procurement cards with JPMorgan Chase. The legislators are concerned about the number of foreclosures in the county, and noted that both banks have a significant number of area homes on the delinquency list. The proclamation states that Bank of America has 465 delinquencies in the region and JP Morgan has 316 area homes in danger of foreclosure. The proclamation also says the banks have "demonstrated a lack of willingness to engage in good-faith efforts" to modify loans and help people keep their homes. The effort, headed by county legislators Norma Chapman, Doug Bullock and Timothy Nichols, is part of a statewide campaign by NY Communities for Change."
[from "Albany County Legislators Want to Close Bank of America, JPMorgan Accounts" June 10th
[Feb. must-read on all this-- "Watch Us Move Our Millions" by Rebecca Leisher (in Yes! magazine):
Pass it on!...
http://www.PetitionOnline.com/Joel (238 there!)
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[text here of Tyner/Doxsey resolution; more co-sponsors needed; scroll down below for documentation!]
WHEREAS, Dutchess County now has $50 million accounts each with Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo- banks widely reported as responsible for mortgage fraud and our economic collapse, and
WHEREAS, former Dutchess County Executive William Steinhaus sent our County Legislature a letter December 15th stating that, "Foreclosure rates in Dutchess County are at record numbers; there are a total of over 4,000 foreclosures in Dutchess over just the last three-year period," and currently in Dutchess County there are 414 home bankruptcy listings, 98 short sales, 61 foreclosures, 43 preforeclosures, and 11 sheriff sales at Foreclosures.com, and
WHEREAS, last June 25 members of the Albany County Legislature signed a proclamation calling for the county to pull its $90 million account from Bank of America and to discontinue procurement cards with JPMorgan Chase because at that time Bank of America had 465 delinquencies in the region and JP Morgan had 316 area homes in danger of foreclosure, and those banks had "demonstrated a lack of willingness to engage in good-faith efforts" to modify loans and help people keep their homes, as here in Dutchess County; several months later Albany County's $90 million account with Bank of America was closed, and
WHEREAS, the municipal boards of Hempstead, Freeport, and Ithaca have all voted for the same reason over the last year to divest from irresponsible financial institutions such as Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo; even the Northern Dutchess Alliance's "Blueprint for Economic Development" strongly recommended holding local financial institutions more publicly accountable for their commitment/investment (or lack thereof) in our local communities, and
WHEREAS, last year the City of San Jose moved nearly $1 billion from Bank of America because of the bank's high record of home foreclosures; City Council members linked foreclosures to lost tax revenues and cuts to jobs and services, and urged other U.S. cities to follow San Jose's example, and last November the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution to review its banking and investment practices "to ensure that public funds are invested in responsible financial institutions that support our community," and
WHEREAS, officials in Portland, Oregon, Los Angeles, and New York City are looking to follow as well, and congregations in the California interfaith coalition LA Voice vowed to divest $2 million from Wells Fargo and Bank of America, ending a 200-year relationship with the big banks; the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East San Jose, Calif., pulled $3 million out of Bank of America and reinvested the funds into Micro Branch, a division of Self-Help Federal Credit Union designed to assist underserved communities, and therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Dutchess County Legislature requests that the Dutchess County Commissioner of Finance divest Dutchess County funds from Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, thereby ending the current $150,000,000 worth of county funds kept in those financial institutions, and find more responsible banks to deposit those monies, and be it further
RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Dutchess County Executive and the Dutchess County Commissioner of Finance.
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Executive Order No. 2, 2011
Dated: October 17, 2011
[signed by Dutchess County Executive William Steinhaus]
Pursuant to Section 3.02 (g) of the Dutchess County Charter, I hereby designate the following banks and trust companies for the deposit of moneys received by the Commissioner of Finance at the maximum amount set forth after the name of each bank or trust company:
HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Poughkeepsie, NY................$50,000,000
JP Morgan Chase Poughkeepsie, NY........................$50,000,000
Bank of America, Poughkeepsie, NY..........................$50,000,000
Wells Fargo (formerly Wachovia Bank, N.A.)
Key Bank of New York, N.A., Poughkeepsie, NY.....$20,000,000
Bank of Millbrook, Millbrook, NY...................................$5,000,000
(merged with Stissing National Bank)
Manufacturers and Traders Trust Co. (M & T)..........$20,000,000
Orange County Trust Company, Fishkill, NY.............$5,000,000
Citizens Bank, Albany, NY..........................................$20,000,000
TD Bank, Poughkeepsie, NY.....................................$50,000,000
Citibank NA, Harrison, NY.........................................$50,000,000
Pursuant to Section 11 of the General Municipal Law, the Dutchess County Commissioner of Finance is authorized to invest in time deposit accounts, certificates of deposit or repurchase agreements of the above designated depositories or repurchase agreements of the Merrill Lynch Flexicash Program.
Pursuant to Section 212 of the County Law, the interest received on moneys deposited in time deposit accounts, certificates of deposit, or repurchase agreements of the above designated depositories shall be the prevailing rate paid by such designated depository, payable on such dates as agreed upon between the depository and the Dutchess County Commissioner of Finance.
This Executive Order No. 2 of 2011 supersedes Executive Order No. 1 of 2011 issued January 2, 2011.
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Two Reasons Why Dutchess County Should Divest from Bank of America:
"Bank Excuses on Foreclosure Growing Stale" by Michael Powell (Nov. 14th)
"Eric Schneiderman Is A Big Thorn In Bank of America's Side" [Forbes Aug. 16th]
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Two Reasons Why Dutchess County Should Divest from JP Morgan Chase:
"Allegations of Fraud Continue to Surround JP Morgan Chase's Foreclosure Processes" Dec. 5th
"Her Bank Got Enough Help When It Was in Trouble. She Didn't." by Michael Powell Sept. 12th
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Two Reasons Why Dutchess County Should Divest from Wells Fargo:
"DoJ Civil Rights Division Investigating Wells Fargo for Mortgage Fraud" by David Dayen July 27, 2011
"Wells Fargo Settles Mortgage Abuse Lawsuit For $85 Million" by Chris Rugaber/Derek Kravitz July 20
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Watch Us Move Our Millions
Cities, churches, and colleges take steps to move their money home.
by Rebecca Leisher
posted Feb 01, 2012
Since the big corporate banks crashed the economy in 2008, they've been rewarded with bailouts, tax breaks, and bonuses, while American workers lose jobs and homes. Little wonder that many Americans-and now, institutions and local governments-have been closing their accounts at big corporate banks and transferring their money to community banks and credit unions. The idea is to send a strong message about responsibility to government and Wall Street, while supporting institutions that genuinely stimulate local economies.
Bank Transfer Day was publicized over five weeks, largely through social networks. In that period, credit unions received an estimated $4.5 billion in new deposits transferred from banks, according to the Credit Union National Association.
Encouraged by the popularity of the "Move Your Money" campaign, citizens are calling for institutions to be accountable and "Move Our Money." A number of schools, churches, and local governments across the country are transferring large sums, or at least considering it, in what looks like the beginning of a broad movement to invest in local economies instead of Wall Street.
Last year the city of San Jose moved nearly $1 billion from Bank of America because of the bank's high record of home foreclosures. City Council members linked foreclosures to lost tax revenues and cuts to jobs and services, and urged other U.S. cities to follow San Jose's example. More recently, in November 2011, the Seattle City Council responded to the Occupy movement by unanimously passing a resolution to review its banking and investment practices "to ensure that public funds are invested in responsible financial institutions that support our community." Officials in Portland, Ore., Los Angeles, and New York City are discussing proposals that address how and where city funds are invested.
Massachusetts launched the Small Business Banking Partnership initiative last year to leverage small business loans and has already deposited $106 million in state reserve funds into community banks.
Student activists and the Responsible Endowments Coalition are urging colleges and universities-some of which have assets comparable to those of a town or city-to move at least a portion of their endowments from Wall Street. The Peralta Community Colleges District in California, with an annual budget of $140 million, has done just that. The district's board of trustees voted unanimously in November to move its assets into community banks and credit unions.
A Separation of Church and Bank
Video: After Bank of America foreclosed on thousands of homes
in their San Jose parish, the members of this Catholic
church bid it goodbye-
and took $3 million with them.
Churches and faith organizations are moving their money too. Congregations in the California interfaith coalition LA Voice vowed to divest $2 million from Wells Fargo and Bank of America, ending a 200-year relationship with the big banks. The Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East San Jose, Calif., pulled $3 million out of Bank of America and reinvested the funds into Micro Branch, a division of Self-Help Federal Credit Union designed to assist underserved communities.
Moving money is most effective where banking practices and investments are transparent. Oregon Banks Local represents small business, family farms, and community banks. It offers a website tool that ranks local banks and credit unions on criteria like headquarters location, jobs created, and extent of local investment to show which financial institutions truly serve local communities.
"People from all walks of life are angry at the banks," says Ilana Berger, co-director of The New Bottom Line, a national campaign that promotes moving money from Wall Street. But the broad appeal of this grassroots movement toward financial reform is based on more than anger or strategy. "It's a way to move our money to follow our values," says Berger. "It's an opportunity to really protest against the banks, but also a way to show what we want them to be."
Rebecca Leisher wrote this article for 9 Strategies to End Corporate Rule, the Spring 2012 issue of YES! Magazine. Rebecca is a freelance writer and former YES! intern.
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Big News on Bank Transfers
The Occupy effect? In the last 3 months, Americans switched banks at three times the normal rate.
by Brooke Jarvis
posted Feb 03, 2012
Two summers ago, at the U.S. Social Forum, I attended a panel discussion about ways to expand the use of credit unions as alternatives to the "too big to fail" banks whose risky investments had helped tank the economy. Each of the speakers-people involved in credit union leadership or advocacy-expressed confusion and frustration that they hadn't already seen a post-crisis shift away from corporate banks and toward credit unions (which have the advantages of being not-for-profit, owned and governed by their depositors, far more likely than big banks to lend to small businesses, and not responsible for any global economic meltdowns).
It seemed that even as Americans were angry with Big Finance, they didn't make the connection to their personal accounts.
In the last 90 days, Americans changed banking providers at three times the normal rate, with 5.6 million people moving their money to a different bank.
Fast forward to last fall-when Occupy Wall Street was in full swing and activists were mobilizing around Bank Transfer Day, an effort to get customers to leave their Wall Street banks-and it seemed everybody was making the connection. Suddenly I was overhearing conversations on the ferry, on the bus, on the soccer field. People kept saying, "I really should have done this a long time ago, but I'm switching from Bank of America [or Chase, or Wells Fargo]. What bank do you use?" Local credit unions and community banks started staying open for extra hours to accommodate the rush of new customers. One morning in November, at my own credit union, I overheard a man explaining to the teller that he was considering becoming a member-but first he wanted to know if his money would be invested in mortgage-backed securities or credit default swaps.
This change, it turns out, was much more than anecdotal. A new analysis from the firm Javelin Strategy and Research found that, in the last 90 days, Americans changed banking providers at three times the normal rate, with 5.6 million people moving their money to a different bank.
Bank Transfer Day wasn't the first major effort to get people to ditch Wall Street banks, but it was the first to have this level of impact. Arianna Huffington spearheaded a 2010 mobilization, the Move Your Money Project, to move customers to community banks ("Our money has been used to make the system worse-what if we used it to make the system better?" she wrote). While the project gained a fair amount of interest, Javelin reports that the actual bank defections it prompted failed to register on its surveys.
So why was 2011's exodus so much bigger? Eleven percent of those who moved their money-some 610,000 people-reported that they did so directly because of Occupy Wall Street and Bank Transfer Day. The Occupy movement helped bring corporate power to the forefront of national discourse; Bank Transfer Day offered a clear, practical way for people to send a message-a chance to turn the mundane question of bank choice into a stance about their personal economic values.
Move Your Money and Save
Big banks don't just undermine local economies-they're bad for your wallet, too.
Then, just as the Occupy movement-and the media scrutiny it prompted-got more Americans thinking critically about the role of big banks in their lives, Bank of America announced a new monthly fee on debit card use. BofA became an instant poster child for out-of-control corporate greed, with hundreds of thousands of people signing petitions against the fee or pledging to close their accounts. President Obama condemned it; a Fox Business anchor cut up her card on the air. Eventually, Bank of America pulled the idea, but not before helping to confirm, for millions of Americans, the Occupy movement's charges that Wall Street banks operate by putting profits before public good-as they did with the practices that caused the financial crisis.
"It's just a $5 fee, but it really is symbolic of so much more," Norma Garcia, of the advocacy group Consumers Union, told the Washington Post. In the end, it helped launch Bank Transfer Day to new heights: 26 percent of those who changed banks cited excessive fees at their current institution.
They were surprised they hadn't already seen a post-crisis shift away from corporate banks and toward credit unions (which have the advantages of being not-for-profit, owned and governed by their depositors, far more likely than big banks to lend to small businesses, and not responsible for any global economic meltdowns).
Fees, of course, are just one of many reasons to switch to a credit union (though there's an interesting history-very much related to the deeper problems of corporate banks-that explains why credit unions and community banks tend to have lower fees). Still, the Bank of America backlash was a significant reminder, to the finance industry as well as to consumers, that giant banks aren't the only option-and that there are a variety of advantages to being mindful about what we support with our investments.
Indeed, the bank transfer push doesn't seem to be losing momentum, as large institutional accounts-including cities, universities, and churches-continue to join the bandwagon. San Jose, Calif. moved $1 billion from Bank of America; just this week, Berkeley announced a desire to move its reserves from Wells Fargo to local credit unions; and proposals are under consideration in Portland, Los Angeles, and New York City.