Move Your Money From Big Banks Like George Bailey In -It’s A Wonderful Life

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By Zaid Jilani

Tomorrow is “Bank Transfer Day,” a day on which 99 Percent activists are calling for Americans to take their money out of big banks and other similar financial institutions and instead use credit unions and local community banks. As ThinkProgress reported yesterday, an estimated 650,000 Americans joined credit unions between Sept. 29 — the day Bank of America announced its now-aborted debit card fee — and the beginning of November. That’s 50,000 more people than joined credit unions in the entirety of 2010.

Americans who are considering making the move themselves should not hesitate. Moving your money is far from a radical step, and it is utilizing the free market and consumer choice to decide who should be successful in the market. In fact, the idea moving money away from greedy large financial institutions to local community banks actually has a place in American history.

The classic American film It’s A Wonderful Life starring James Stewart depicts the struggles of George Bailey, a middle class husband and father. At one point in the film, the greedy bank run by Henry Potter denies Bailey and others loans they need to get by while engaging in outrageous practices himself. “These people have children,” relates one of the townsfolk to Potter. “They’re not my children!” Potter replies. To resolve Bailey’s crisis, the townsfolk pool their money to get around Potter, effectively creating their own community banking system.

A group of activists and documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki produced a short film called Move Your Money in 2009 that used the plot of It’s A Wonderful Life to inspire Americans to be like Bailey and reject banks run by people like Potter. Watch it:

To be like Bailey and the townsfolk who rejected Potter, use Move Your Money’s tool here to find a local community bank or credit union.

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