Rebuild Main Street Oregon. Bring Your Money Home.

By Steve Hughes of Portland, Oregon. Steve is the state director of the Oregon Working Families Organization. Previously, he contributed "OR-1: Is the American Dream Dying in Rural Oregon?"

Occupy Portland, Occupy Salem, Occupy Eugene, and even, yes you are reading this right, Occupy Roseburg. The movement that began in New York has dug in for the long haul here in Oregon, and on Saturday, November 5th, it is about to open a new chapter as it mobilizes for “Bank Transfer Day” around the country.

The concept is simple: move your money from the Wall Street banks that collapsed the economy, and put that money into local banks and credit unions that are more accountable to our communities. Although they arose independently of one another, the timing of the convergence between the Occupation movement and the “Move Your Money” movement couldn’t be more appropriate.

Here’s why: two-thirds of Oregon’s private bank deposits are held by just five Wall Street banks. If we want to build a truly sustainable, local economy we must find ways to bring this money closer to home—it is a matter of simple economic self-sufficiency.

There’s a problem though. Almost every bank and credit union works really hard to “look local” even when they are sometimes anything but. So “moving our money” can be trickier than we think. For this reason, we felt there was a need to provide some real research on what it means to be a “local” financial institution.

We evaluated all 140 banks and credit unions doing business in Oregon and rated them on how local they are based on objectively measurable criteria. Now we have built an online resource called Oregon Banks Local, to make that research easily accessible to the public.

Banking locally strengthens our communities and encourages economic resilience where we live. Every step we take to bring our money home quickly compounds the effect, circulating more dollars in our communities while promoting self-sufficiency and independence from external shocks.

This movement started on Wall Street, but it will end on Main Street.

Find out more about Oregon Banks Local at

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    Thanks for the great resource. I am looking to move and now you have made part of the job much easier.

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    as a 4-year member of Unitus, and a life-long credit union member, i was horribly disappointed to learn that Unitus hired a new CEO in 2007 & she worked tirelessly -- to bust their union. Unitus has treated me well, but had i known this when i joined in 2007, i would have picked another credit union.

    which i will be doing very soon. being a credit union doesn't mean you should practice some of the worst of corporate practices. and union-busting is among the worst.

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    We first moved from WaMu to Western Bank back in 1995, only to have the growing WaMu (now Chase) buy them in 1998. Moved to Premier West in 2004 due to their emphasis on small town banking in southern and central Oregon. I think that they get a lower score on 'Locally Focused' score due to being told to take over a failing northern California bank about 3 years ago. all of their branches are in primarily rural areas from Stockton to Roseburg and Drain. That seems very local to me.

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    Moved from WaMu (then, considered a 'good' bank) to Portland Teacher's because student loan and car loan rates were so much better. Even when it merged to become OnPoint, I've still been happy with them, and keep urging my wife to consolidate the rest of our accounts over to them.

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