Press Release – March 6th, 2012

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Press Release: March 6th, 2012

The Occupy Bank

Occupy Wall Street is seeking to establish a new kind of bank.

Since the early days of the Occupy Wall Street movement, a working group has been exploring the design and establishment of a new kind of bank -¬- that would embody and promote the principles of democracy, equality, justice and transparency.
As recent history has demonstrated, financial institutions have tremendous importance, and thus responsibility, in society. They have great (and largely unused) potential to create solutions to social, economic and environmental issues. To this end the working group is now looking to partner with, or acquire, an existing bank or suitable financial services organization in order to establish an “Occupy Bank”.
Our intention is to establish a new kind of bank that will combine attributes that are not widely available in the current financial system. In embodying values other than mere profit maximization, the Occupy Bank will not only offer better services to its customers, it will also promote its values in banking and the broader economy – and indeed society. In particular, the Occupy Bank would be:
-¬-Democratic
Owned and governed by its customers and employees.
Accountable to the stakeholders which would include staff, customers, and local communities.
-¬- Accessible
Available and affordable for all, including those ignored or underserved by the mainstream banking system.
-¬-Transparent
Completely transparent (with the exception of personal data), setting an example of
good conduct for the entire sector.
-¬-Competitive
Better and cheaper services to both individuals and businesses than those offered by most conventional banks today.

-¬-Robust
Follows lending and other financial practices that do not expose the broader economy to systemic risk.

This is not an implausible vision. We believe that costs can be lowered, and the bank made competitive, by the elimination of a profit maximizing model, whether through a Benefit Corporation or a non-¬-profit.
We also believe that there is a large, and largely untapped, market for values based banking, where people are treated fairly and where they, and the bank’s staff, have a stake in – and share of – its success. True engagement and fairness create customer loyalty. These attributes together will enable a compelling competitive advantage for The Occupy Bank.

We are seeking partners who want to help make this vision reality. In particular, we encourage approaches from banks or other financial service organizations that are sympathetic to – and willing to implement – these values. They may already practice beneficial employee relations, contribute to their communities, and respect the environment. The recent passage of Benefit Corporation legislation in both New York and California clearly demonstrates the widespread desire for a new “triple bottom line” vision.

In practical terms, the Occupy Bank might initially be based as a small local bank, such as a community bank. However, we envision that the Occupy Bank would soon be national in scope, including by being available on-¬-line. While the design is not set in stone, our ideals for the characteristics and values of the bank are firm.

We are ready to develop our ideas with the right partner in order to implement them successfully.
Socially aligned financial institutions, foundations, organizations and individuals that might be interested in the creation of this new bank should contact any of the following:

Charles Reinhardt -¬- chcreinhardt@gmail.com -¬- 917 202 9386
Nikki Leger – nikki@nikkileger.com – 646 274 2402
James Sherry -¬- jamestsherry@verizon.net -¬- 917 608 2733
Carne Ross -¬- carne@carneross.com – 646 508 5643

The Occupy Bank Working Group
New York City 6 March, 2012

The Occupy Bank Working Group is comprised of concerned citizens, many of whom are experienced professionals in the banking, financial, government, regulatory, academic and business communities.

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