In one month last year, as many of 650,000 Americans moved their money out of the dysfunctional big banks and into small local banks. That is a huge amount and potentially the beginning of some kind of self-help solution to tyranny by big finance.
I’m glad to say that a similar Move Your Money campaign has been launched in the UK, though there is rather a problem about it of course. Half of all the money in the USA is in small banks. In this country – almost uniquely in the western world – we don’t have any.
Yes, there are a handful of possibilities – the Co-op, Triodos, Nationwide and a handful of surviving building societies. There is Metro of course.
Virgin Money promises a great deal but experience with Virgin Trains does not make one hopeful, especially since Virgin is a strange network of leased brand names based offshore in the Virgin Islands. That kind of thing isn’t the solution to unrooted banking, it’s the problem.
One major reason why the nation remains locked into recession is that we don’t have a range of small, regional banks able to take decisions about loans, but that is another story.
In the meantime, it makes sense to move your money where your mouth is. If you are complaining about having to pay a slither of Bob Diamond’s humungous bonus or the £500 million on bonuses earmarked for RBS staff, then there really is only one answer. Don’t.
I moved my bank account away from HSBC to the Co-op last year and it felt good. To celebrate the launch of the UK Move Your Money campaign, I’ve moved my credit card account too. Next move: extract my business account from Barclays – why should I contribute to Bob Diamond’s retirement?