Fed up

Occupy Pasadena urges people to transfer their money to credit unions

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 11/10/2011

The growing populist anger at large corporations and banks hit close to home last month with the formation of Occupy Pasadena, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street protests that began on Sept. 17 in Manhattan.

The local group’s first protest was on Nov. 2, focusing on supporting Occupy Oakland protesters and condemning Oakland police violence. During a recent protest, 24-year-old Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen was left with a fractured skull after he was hit in the head with a projectile fired by police.

Other protests organized by community activists Patrick Briggs and Maddie Gavel-Briggs, who have attended Occupy Pasadena meetings but are not organizers with that group, have taken place at Lake Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in front of Bank of America, Chase Bank and Wells Fargo branches.

Nearly 200 people marched Saturday in support of Bank Transfer Day, an idea created by Los Angeles art gallery owner Kristen Christian that encouraged people to close their accounts with major banks and move their money to not-for-profit credit unions. Over the last month, more than 650,000 consumers joined credit unions, according to the Credit Union National Association.

“Three people with us wanted to close their Wells Fargo accounts, but the bank employees refused to let them in,” Gavel-Briggs told the Weekly

She acknowledged that planning ahead is required if someone chooses to use credit unions and community banks, because there are fewer branch locations.

“It won’t work for everyone, but it will be better if people cut ties with these criminal banks,” she said.

The Occupy Pasadena group, which meets every Sunday at 3 p.m. in Memorial Park, describes itself on its Web site as a “people-powered movement resisting the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused one of the greatest recessions in American history.”

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