Occupy protesters as financiers? It’s strange but true: Some Occupy San Francisco members announced plans to create the People’s Reserve Credit Union. Are the occupiers ready to be bankers? “The goal of this project is to encourage San Francisco residents, businesses, as well as non-profit and city agencies, to keep their money out of the big banks and to redistribute that money locally,” Occupy San Francisco says in a statement on its Facebook page.
Founders initially want to start with 500 members and grow to 2,000 members, two branches and $7 million in capital assets by the end of next year. They say branch staffing will add 60 part-time jobs to the local economy, and the entire enterprise will create a total of 1,000 jobs in the city. Organizers also pledge to help residents by offering microloans of $5,000 or less and subsidized student loans at lower-than-average rates.
On its Facebook page, Occupy San Francisco says it’s already attracting interest from potential investors. The name of the credit union was registered with the state just before Thanksgiving, and an initial charter meeting is scheduled for a week from today.
Long term, members are thinking big, with plans for on-site cafes and commercial kitchen space, plus a food co-op. So far, they’ve gained the support of two members of the city’s board of supervisors, Eric Mar and John Avalos, according to financial industry trade publication the Credit Union Times.
The nascent credit union’s Facebook page urges users, “Help us create your ideal socially conscious credit union.” What that vision looks like, and if this loosely organized movement can pull off a concrete, brick-and-mortar financial institution without losing their anti-establishment paradigm, remains to be seen.