01 April 2009

Tired of Bailing Out Banks ...

and their unethical investment practices?

Then try a little citizen activism. Close your savings, chequing, GICs or other big-bank accounts and walk your money over to your local credit union or "independent community bank" (do we have such things here?) Such is the advice to USians in the article linked above.

Such is also the action I took back in December after reading this article in The Tyee.
Last month, the San Francisco-based Rainforest Action Network ... published a report analyzing the greenhouse gas emissions of Canada’s five biggest banks, based on their financing of fossil fuel projects. According to the report, last year Royal Bank, TD Bank, BMO, Scotiabank and CIBC provided a total of $155 billion in direct corporate loans and financing to coal, oil and gas industries.

"[Banks] play a massive role in Canada's future as a contributor to global warming rather than a country that's helping solve the problem," said organizer Graham Girard.

It was the latest of other articles I'd read about the unethical investing of large banks whose sole raison d'ĂȘtre is to serve up profit to their shareholders. It was the last straw for me.

I'd been a customer of the same bank for over 30 years, which is why I'd hesitated for so long to make the move. My local branch in particular had been good to me, waiving fees they needn't have and taking my word that such-and-such happened without requesting proof. That's unusual for a large bank and so, as a loyal customer, I stayed. Still, community branches are nonetheless part of a huge corporation with tentacles everywhere and I simply couldn't condone my tiny part in supporting the activities of that corporation anymore.

So with regret and not a little anxiety, since the familiar is comforting, I did the deed. Soon thereafter, I felt a huge sigh of relief, my conscience finally salved. Haven't had a single regret since.

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