UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

May 13, 2009

BANKS THAT WORK: CREDIT UNIONS

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman, Counterpunch - As hundreds of our hard-earned billions are being poured into corrupt, greed-driven, lethally inefficient banks, the Administration, Congress and corporate media have studiously avoided the one sector of the banking industry that actually works---the credit unions.

Throughout the United States there are hundreds of these people-powered banks that have succeeded and prospered while all around them the traditional banking has collapsed into ruin, taking our general economy with them.

Why? Because unlike those private banks, the America's 10,000 not-for-profit credit unions are controlled by the people who deposit their money there. Loans are made only to members. The deposits are federally insured, and investments are monitored by the depositors and, allegedly, by federal regulators.

For the most part, their decisions are made democratically. Their boards of directors are elected. Increasingly those decisions have been oriented funneling resources into new green industries whose future is bright, and that actually serve that public rather than raping it.

To be sure, there are those credit unions that are plagued with problems. Like all institutions, they all have their flaws. As creatures of the democratic process, they are capable of making wrong decisions while driving those involved stark raving mad.

But by basic mandate, credit unions are accountable, a concept almost completely lacking from those mega-banks "too big to let fail."

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