Column: Move your money - alternatives exist across U.S.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Do you love your megabank?
I'm talking about your local branch of CitiChaseMorganofAmerica -- or some similar financial conglomeration. As you might have learned from experience, they have thousands of bankers who specialize in finding innovative new ways to gouge consumers worldwide. From rip-off fees to refusing to refinance home loans, the friendly slogan of these giants is: "We don't care. We're too big to fail!"
Unfortunately, Washington is too cowed by Wall Street money to cut these arrogant and avaricious giants down to size. But guess what? You and I can do it. We can make them smaller, one deposit at a time, by simply moving our money out of their clutches. After all, it's our money.
You can join the thousands of Americans who are walking away from the don't-give-a-damn financial fortresses and switching their accounts to community banks, credit unions, socially responsible investment firms, and other banking entities eager to treat you like a valued customer.
A recent survey found that the biggest banking conglomerates -- such as JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America -- have sunk to their lowest consumer satisfaction level in years. Sixty-six percent of customers say they'd consider taking their money out of those grasping empires.
Appealing alternatives exist all across America. At credit unions, for example, late fees and overdraft fees average only half of what the big chain banks charge, and credit unions offer loans with interest rates that are 20 percent lower than those assessed by the giants.
Why put up with megabank megalomania? Here are two websites to help you find a local bank that gives a damn about you and your community: www.findacreditunion.com and www.moveyourmoney.info/find-a-bank.
Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He's also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.