City Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder has agreed to transfer $45 million worth of Sewer Authority funds from a JPMorgan Chase account to local bank First Niagara Financial Group after Occupy Buffalo raised concerns about leaving the money at JPMorgan, the Buffalo News reports. The move comes with a number of benefits, including a higher interest rate and more local branches that make it easier for employees to cash paychecks (h/t ThinkProgress).
“It also sends a crystal-clear message to JPMorgan Chase that the City of Buffalo is not happy with their business practices," Schroeder told Buffalo News.
The city's decision to transfer its money comes just weeks after JPMorgan's $2 billion trading loss, which caused significant damage to the bank's reputation. It's also a victory for Occupy Buffalo, which has been demonstrating against JPMorgan for months. The group organized a protest in front of a JPMorgan branch back in October advocating customers withdraw their money from the nation’s biggest banks.
The Occupy movement has had success in getting other cities to loosen their affiliations with big banks. Both Los Angeles and Kansas City have approved measures that deter officials from doing business with banks that have been accused of predatory lending.
Meanwhile, Occupy Austin convinced its City Council in March to come up with recommendations for divesting city funds from Bank of America, YNN reports.
In addition, Bank Transfer Day, a social media push affiliated with the Occupy movement, saw account holders throughout the country pull their funds from banks and open accounts with credit unions late last year.
Churches too have taken a unified approach to pulling funds from the nation’s biggest banks. A record number of church foreclosures last year, in part, has prompted congregations across the country to withdraw funds, including 25 churches that took out $16 million from Wells Fargo, JPMorgan and others, The New York Times reported in March. In addition, a priest in San Jose pulled $3 million from BofA to protest foreclosure practices last November, Bay Citizen reports.
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