Green America: $5 Debit Card Fee is Latest Reason for American Consumers to Join the Protest Against Big Banks

As Wall Street Occupation Continues, Green America Cites Latest Abusive Big Bank Fee as Reason for Americans to "Break Up" with Mega Banks and Switch to Community Lenders

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As protestors continue to occupy Wall Street and consumers across the country are increasingly outraged by the abusive practices of mega-banks, the nonprofit Green America (http://greenamericatoday.org) is urging Americans to "break up" with their mega-banks and, instead, shift their money to community investing institutions nationwide.  The latest outrageous mega-bank gouging of consumers: the rise of the $5 monthly debit card fee.

Unlike mega-banks, community investing institutions serve local communities, providing loans to support affordable housing, small businesses, and social services. They often lend money to people overlooked by big banks, such as women entrepreneurs, green businesses, and people providing vital services in their communities, such as child care. Also unlike mega-banks, community investing institutions do not engage in abusive and predatory banking practices, since they have a mission of building communities.

"Consumers are increasingly fed up with the fact that mega-banks pay their executives millions in bonuses, while charging consumers outrageous fees, foreclosing on homes, and failing to invest in Main Street," said Todd Larsen, corporate responsibility director for Green America. "Bank of America's recent announcement of charging $5 per month for debit cards is just the latest outrage.  We're helping more and more Americans to move their money out of mega-banks and into community investing institutions that are working to rebuild our communities and that value their customers."

Over the past 10 years, the funds invested in community investing institutions grew from $5 billion in assets to nearly $40 billion. Much of this growth has been fueled by individual investors. To help individuals break up with their mega-bank, Green America provides resources, including a comprehensive guide (http://www.greenamerica.org/pdf/guideinvestcommunities.pdf) for finding community investing options (available free as a download, and in print copies (http://www.greenamerica.org/socialinvesting/communityinvesting/orderguide.cfm) to individuals, or in bulk to community organizations), and stories of consumers who have broken up with their mega-banks and made the switch to community investing institutions. (http://www.greenamerica.org/socialinvesting/communityinvesting/2011Kotzenberg.cfm)

MEDIA CONTACTS:  Leslie Anderson at landerson@hastingsgroup.com and (703) 276-3256; or Todd Larsen at tlarsen@greenamerica.org and (202) 872-5310.

Green America is a national membership organization dedicated to harnessing economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Green America's Community Investing Program can be found on the web at: http://www.greenamerica.org/socialinvesting/communityinvesting/.

SOURCE Green America, Washington, D.C.



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