THE BLOG

On Valentine's Day: Love Your Sweetheart, But Break Up With Your Big Bank

04/13/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Valentine's Day is approaching, and we should all, especially in these difficult times, show our significant others all the affections we feel for them. We say "especially in these difficult times" only because that is when an extra smile, or kiss, or other sign of affection can mean so much. We all need a little extra boost these days, and that can arise just from the recognition triggered by these feelings about what is really important in life.

And, let us not forget those who not only visited these tough times upon us, but also used our money provided to rescue them in their moment of need to lobby Congress against reforms to prevent them from ever darkening our days again. One need not believe there was actual malice aforethought that caused the "mistakes" the big bankers admitted to the Angelides Commission to recognize their utter contempt for the rest of us as they shower millions of our dollars on Congress to make the American people bear the risks again of their financial shenanigans.

There is a remedy that requires not a single vote of Congress, nor a single contribution to a political campaign. It is riskless, and all it takes is concerted action by millions of individuals.
You are not powerless, unless you decline to exercise your power. It is not hard, just

MOVE YOUR MONEY FROM A BIG BANK TO A SMALLER ONE.

Specifically, take your money from Bank of America, WellsFargo, Citigroup and Chase, and move it to another bank. [Many people believe that their bank IS small because it is a branch office that often is not very large. These big banks have 1000s of these small branches around the country; that is how they became so large.]

To find a good alternative in your area, go to www.moveyourmoney.info. While you are at it, you can visit www.breakupthebigbanks.com, a partner with us in this campaign, and join our political movement to make banks small enough so that their failure does not steal your retirement, your home, your children's college education ever again.

Your deposits are protected in a small bank just as they are in large banks, up to a maximum of $250,000. No more. No less.

It is not even burdensome. Set up a savings and checking account at a smaller bank. Put your earnings from Valentine's Day forward into those new accounts. If you have direct deposit from your company, give your payroll department your new information. Write checks on your old account until it is empty, and draw out your savings and move it to your new account at the smaller bank.

How does moving my $900 savings help? Just like every vote counts, every decline in deposits of the big banks makes them nervous. When they have lost 10% of their deposits, they will start listening. When it is up to 20%, they will be panicking.

Are we advising punishment or retribution for what bankers called their "mistakes"? No. But, just as one disciplines a child more harshly when they show they have learned nothing from a mistake, the big banks need to be taught that they play by certain norms of behavior, or they cannot play with your money anymore. They need to become less self-interested, and more attuned to the needs of their communities...and smaller, so their mistakes can never, ever, hurt you again.

On Valentine's Day, just think of it as "tough love".