BIG BANK or Community Bank?

It seems that not enough Americans are mad enough or doing anything about the way in which the USA government has protected several large financial institutions from bankruptcy in recent years. These organizations played a major role in fueling the current economic crises and a few have already risen back to strong profits while many American taxpayers are suffering immensely. What a shame.

Here's a snapshot of the last few years:

-- Large financial institutions (including numerous banks) made foolish and risky investments with borrowed money. Because of this recklessness, it was clear that many couldn't recover financially as the losses were too substantial.

-- When some of the major companies had no where to turn for help, the USA government proclaimed that they were "to big to fail".

-- The government protected some of the biggest names by "bailing them out" - or in plain terms, giving them billions of dollars to ensure that they could keep their doors open.

-- This "bailout" came at the expense of the American taxpayer.

-- Some of these organizations had great financial years in 2009. In addition, some have given their top management large bonuses.

-- These organizations don't seem to have any restrictions imposed on them by the government so that they don't make the same mistakes again. How ridiculous!

-- In summary, the lesson learned is that it is okay to fail because the American Taxpayer will be there to back you up!

Read the paragraph below and click on the link from the NY Times to get the full story:

This year, compensation will again eat up much of Wall Street’s revenue. During the first nine months of 2009, five of the largest banks that received federal aid — Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley — together set aside about $90 billion for compensation. That figure includes salaries, benefits and bonuses, but at several companies, bonuses make up more than half of compensation.

The American taxpayer hasn't been so fortunate:

-- Millions have lost untold amounts of money due to the financial crisis.

--Millions of Americans are unemployed or underemployed.

-- Unemployment is at a staggering 10% the last time I checked.

--The number of home foreclosures in the last few years is horrendous.

--After all of the above, the taxpayer is responsible for bailing out the organizations that created this financial tsunami!

Could I paint the picture any clearer?

Since there seems to be a severe lack of inaction at this injustice, let me suggest a way to show some ACTION in order to improve your financial future.

The advice is simple - Consider moving your money from that BIG BANK to a local/community bank or credit union.

Here's why:

At these local/community banks, the service is much better, the lending is easier and they usually don't make those risky investments with your money so your funds will be more secure. I speak from experience as I have always banked on the local level as I knew the attention and ease I received from the beginning could never be matched by these mammoth banks with thousands of employees. In addition, I have encouraged friends and acquaintances to make the move before the economic crisis hit and I am sure some of them wished that they had.

An insightful friend sent out an email to his readers about this timely subject. After visiting the site ( and watching a wonderful video, he inspired me to put my pen to paper on this important subject. You will find a portion of his email below.

This email will be short and concise. A good friend recently shared a video with me called “Move Your Money” produced by Economist Robert Johnson, columnist Arianna Huffington, and filmmaker Eugene Jarecki. It’s a short video about looking into the possibility of moving your money from a large bank and putting it into a community bank. I have a very good friend who actually only banks with a credit union.

You be the judge when you see this video, but as for me, I will continue to look into this issue as a serious option to consider as I continue to spread the message about the need for economic reform. More about my findings in a future email.

If your financial acumen isn't where you would like it to be or you simply want to enhance your financial opportunities, I implore you to do three things:

1) Read my article from October of 2008. It is called "World Financial Crisis - are you swimming or sinking? The link is below.

2) Study, Read and Learn as much as you can about investing and building the financial future that you desire. In my opinion, it is not difficult to grow your money year after year if you CARE ENOUGH to do the preparation and upkeep required. In addition, it's important to surround yourself with people who are good investors and have proven track records of success.

3) Consider the move to a community oriented bank.

The aforementioned "move your money" website provides the information you need to get started. If you do, you will be pleasantly surprised with the experience (i.e. better customer service) and will probably wonder why you never considered one in the first place. I cannot recall a moment while doing business at the local level where I encountered serious problems or disappointments. If there was an issue, it was dealt with by at least one person (sometimes several) promptly and a solution was worked out quickly.

Most of the people I know lost money during the last few years of the financial crisis. If you fall into that category, it's imperative that you take control of your financial destiny to prevent a repeat in the future. You should and can be the "master of your own economic reform" - all it takes is a bit of common sense, preparation and the willingness to keep a close eye on your entire portfolio of finances.

Don't procrastinate . ACT.

Happy Gswede Sunday!

Few things in winter compare to late afternoon sledding with your son. A brilliant hour of joy in Stockholm.

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