Every now and then I stop producing classic movie events, listening to jazz music, watching vaudeville clips, ancient short comedies and Scopitones long enough to ponder just what we, as citizens, given the massive corruption in our political system, can do to make a difference - and invariably end up wandering circuitously through the dark woods of further questions.
Among said questions: "is there any way I can have checking and savings accounts that do not support sleazy business practices, sleazier lobbiests and the even (shudder) sleazier politicos they bribe (a.k.a. buy off with their generous contributions)?" I stumbled upon a potentially satisfactory response in the following article, Move Your Money: A New Year's Resolution.
This posting describes the Move Your Money website, where consumers can easily identify the most sound community banks and smaller financial institutions in their neighborhoods. Credit Unions are not yet included in this assessment, but the website mentions that ratings for these institutions will be forthcoming. One can do further research via the Institutional Risk Analytics website and check out consumer feedback regarding banks and credit unions on Yelp and other portals.
If enough squeezed middle-class consumers migrate a substantial chunk of their business from irresponsible "too big to fail" behemoths to community banks and credit unions, the message - which has yet to reach our elected representatives (and possibly never will) - will be loud and clear. And the small business loans which will lead to a meaningful rebound in the economy won't be coming from the big boys.
After all, the very institutions who begged the most for taxpayer money, without a doubt, lobbied the hardest for ill-advised and ultimately disastrous deregulation and will fight tooth and nail to kill any needed systemic reforms.