The anti-big-bank Occupy protesters in San Francisco are branching out into entrepreneurship. The group is so fed up with big banks that they are now creating their own credit union. And while they are "practicing what they preach," one blogger notes the move may not end well.
SF Weekly reports:
Members of Occupy SF announced their ambitious plans to turn protesters into bankers by creating the People's Reserve Credit Union. According to Occupy SF's Facebook page:
The goal of this project is to encourage San Francisco residents, businesses, as well as nonprofit and city agencies to keep their money out of the big banks and to redistribute that money locally. Initial services will include micro-loans for the working poor and homeless, and subsidized student loans at low interest rates.
The credit union is being created with the help of San Francisco's Glide Community Church and Supervisors John Avalos and Eric Mar. The group filed its paperwork and has already crafted a thoughtful mission statement: The credit union will serve as a replicable model for other financial institutions to reinvest wealth in their local communities. They will support microenterprise, provide educational loans, and foster community improvement projects.
SF Weekly has a list of some of their other goals:
- Accumulate capital assets of $7 million or more, through investments by different organizations, members, et al.
- Open two credit union branches within the city of San Francisco. The first branch location in the mid-Market Street corridor , in the former Social Security Administration storefront (MOCD) , with the assistance of other local nonprofits. Each branch will have a cafe within it and a commercial kitchen available to rent.
- The credit union will employ students and homeless, creating 60 part-time jobs.
- Issue 300 to 500 micro-enterprise loans (max. $5,000).
- Add 1,000 people overall to the city employment payroll.
- Finance and start a food co-op large enough to support a neighborhood.
Blogger Zombie has a feeling the project will be entertaining:
The difference between the People’s Reserve Credit Union and the other banks is that other banks are eeeeeevil whereas the People’s Reserve Credit Union is good.
Welcome to the real world, Occupiers. The world of regulations and accounting and laws and audits and trying to meet payroll. This should be entertaining.
But that's not all he takes umbrage with. See, part of the Occupiers plan involves micro-loans. Zombie points out that may not be a winning plan:
Occupy SF will soon learn that micro-enterprise loans are incredibly risky, because most micro-businesses fail. Risky loans are what caused the banking crisis in the first place — remember? Or was that too long ago for you?
"We believe the credit union serves as a model for other financial institutions to reinvest wealth in their communities," Brian Mckune, an Occupy SF organizer, told SF Weekly. "We want to show them that there is a way to reduce the impact of large banks on the community at large, and the leakage of local funds internationally caused by the large banks, keeping the money where it belongs."
You can see the Occupiers' plan at their Facebook page for more details.