Banks Giving: Now That's The Holiday Spirit!

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011
  • Julia Moulden Speaker, columnist and author, 'RIPE: Rich, Rewarding Work After 50'

Why is "Banks Giving" a headline we never expect to read? And isn't it time we acted in unison to do something about that?

Like you, I've grown increasingly uneasy about the money financial institutions are making. And the obscene bonuses paid to senior people (you can be sure that tellers aren't in line for such excess).

I've been wondering what the average person can do - in addition to sending clear messages to our leaders. An interesting story out of Australia (written by Keith Bradsher of the New York Times) shows the power of activism. After years of complaints by small business (retailers and restaurants), banks and credit card companies reduced merchant fees. The story also shows the limits. As fast as regulators came up with restrictions, banks came up with new fees. It's a vicious (and I do mean vicious) circle.

I started thinking about all of this in New Radical terms. Instead of waiting for someone else to solve the world's problems, New Radicals say, "I can do it!". And they come up with positive, constructive, and hopeful approaches. So, if straightforward activism (viz Australia) has its limits, what else can we do?

Can we get off the financial grid altogether?

I'm not talking about the proverbial mattress or even local trading coupons. I'm looking for ideas that work in our 21st century world. I want to hear about smart, sustainable financial alternatives. Has anyone started a "good" bank - and, if so, why haven't we all heard about it? What other options are out there, or in the works? I've been writing about "good" venture capitalists, including the SOCAP conference last September in San Francisco (which was attended by every major financial institution - they know something's up). What about day-to-day banking? Mortgages? Credit cards?

What are you doing? What have you heard about? How can a new breed of financial institution help bring our ailing world back to full health? How might we encourage the banks of today to start thinking like the banks of tomorrow? How can we help them see that we exist not only for ourselves but also for each other? Because, well, that's what this holiday season is all about.

Please share your thoughts by commenting below. As always, I invite you to email me at JULIA (familiar symbol) wearethenewradicals (symbol) (COM).

Julia Moulden is on tour, talking about the New Radicals. She doesn't leave home without them.