Sustainable Bank Coming to Oregon

April 7, 2010

by Randy Jones

Looking for a bank that benefits everyone, not just a few? Common Good Banks will distribute all profits beyond basic operation costs, to local, national, and global projects aimed at those most disadvantaged.

Depositors/Shareholders will control each local branch, and decide which projects to fund, consistent with the founding principles of democracy, economic justice, sustainability, and local community development. Member depositors will have voting rights at all levels of the system. Common Good Banks will help keep local money local. If you would like to be involved in peace-making on a daily basis via your daily purchases, here is a way to do it. Remember, Think globally — Act locally!

Social Mission with a Bank

According to Common Good Finance, the project’s nonprofit promoter, several hundred people around the world worked together for seven years to design this new community-based economic system. This system incorporates many of the best ideas from many progressive local economy models, including Ithaca, Grameen, Mondragon, Iroquois Trade, Dubai Islamic, the New Resource Bank and others. Common Good Banks are the result. As the project’s website says, “This is not just another bank with a social mission. This is a social mission with a bank!” Check it out at www.commongoodbank.com.

Common Good Banks will be FDIC-insured. Though similar to credit unions in some ways, Common Good Banks will be significantly different from both credit unions and banks: They will offer a full range of banking services and will be competitive with mainline banks, but you won’t be able to get rich using them, that is, unless you define getting rich as benefiting the common good. Under the Common Good Bank plan, customers will receive a Common Good Card, a local credit/debit card that will be processed by the bank’s own computers, using cell phone and Internet technology. Unlike ordinary credit cards that cost businesses two percent plus a per-transaction fee, businesses can accept the Common Good Card without any fees at all. This feature makes it possible for any small business to accept credit cards and could save local businesses thousands of dollars in credit card fees.

The grassroots movement currently needs local supporters, donors, business partners, and potential investors in order to charter the parent bank, an initial step which can then be quickly followed by the opening of branches in any community world-wide.

Common Good Banks will be chartered under state and federal (SEC) regulations. Common Good Finance is currently hiring community organizers all over the United States to set up Community Divisions, in advance of applying for the initial bank charter in Massachusetts. If you would like to become a community division organizer, visit http://commongoodbank.com/help/cdo. Anyone can sign up now as a founding depositor, with no cost or obligation, on the Common Good Bank project website noted above. Donations are also welcome to help launch the project.

A national local organizers’ contact list can be viewed at http://commongoodbank.com/organizers/olist, and a list of current endorsements is at http://commongoodbank.com/about/team. Φ

Randy Jones is a retired minister and counselor living in Salem. He is a volunteer at OPW and is currently working for the Common Good Bank project as the local community division organizer (CDO) in Salem.

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One Response to “ Sustainable Bank Coming to Oregon ”

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