November 4, 2011

Bloggin' Ryan is back bloggin

You ever have a good idea that didn't quite execute as well as you would have liked? Drafts and Draughts was a noble experiment and was great fun with Holly and Will's help. Maybe at some point, once there's more money in the budget to allow for buying hosting and a domain, Drafts and Draughts will rise from the iDead.

A lot has happened since last year: my fiancée and I are now wife and husband; we moved up to Blacksburg, Virginia, where she is in a PhD program at Virginia Tech; I got a new job; did I mention we got married?
With that being said, here goes nothing...

Since the start of the financial crisis and the accompanying crisis in confidence that everyday consumers have had in the behemoth financial institutions, credit union membership has been growing. The Occupy/99% movements and recent announcements by the behemoths of debit card and account usage fees have helped to accelerate this growth, with the movements actively encouraging depositors and borrowers to remove their accounts from those behemoths and relocate to a hometown bank or credit union. Now, a Facebook activist has named a day for consumers to close out their accounts with the behemoths and move to their local credit union.

Bank Transfer Day is Saturday, November 5 and the Credit Union National Association is encouraging people to cut away from the behemoths and join a credit union.

"Now what exactly is a credit union?" you may ask. Simply put, a credit union is a co-operative financial institution that is owned by each and every one of its depositors, called a member. Each member has the right to vote for the credit union's board of directors and while there may be professional management in place to conduct the day-to-day business of the credit union, the democratically elected board of directors will have final say in all business of the credit union.

Credit unions are not-for-profit. That is, the credit union itself does not make money like a commercial bank does. Whatever net income a credit union generates is plowed back into the credit union's operations, giving its members lower interest rates on loans, higher interest rates on savings, and reduced fees. Moreover, credit unions, being smaller institutions than the behemoths, are willing to work with their members in the event of financial trouble, something to take note of when we hear frequent stories of summary foreclosure action by the behemoths and their lawyers.

My connections to the credit union movement notwithstanding, I am in full support of this movement and everyone who is interested in shifting the balance of power in a real, meaningful way should support it, too.

Remember: November 5 isn't the only day you can join a credit union! Heck, you could join today! In fact, since Saturday is usually an abbreviated day for most institutions, it might be easier if you can squeeze in time today or Monday.

Thanks for reading. I'll be back soon. I promise.