Stop Collaborating with Banks, Says Spanish Guide

In earlier Picket Line entries, I’ve attempted to translate sections from the latest edition of the Spanish Handbook of Economic Disobedience (see , , , , and ).

Today I’ll continue:

How to stop collaborating with the banks

We share this information for people who want to join in the option of closing their current accounts in private banks and savings banks, which are fusing more and more, and of which it is hard to tell the difference between the two.

The question comes when you want to totally abandon conventional banking and need to have a current account in order to cash your paycheck, pension, or to pay a bill that would not be easy to pay in some other way; here you do not have it easy in the Spanish State.

The necessary structure for permitting daily operations, using credit or debit cards and moving cash, makes it difficult for small entities and those with few branches.

The Fiare project, while not being credentialed as a credit union, operates as a commercial branch of the Italian People’s Ethical Bank [Banca Popolare Etica], has reported that it hopes to be able to open current accounts starting in .

Currently the only bank with ethical investments operating in the Spanish State in which you can open a current account is in Triodos Bank. You cannot make withdrawals at the branches of this entity, but they do allow you to have a debit or credit card with the bank.

People seeking to break with capitalist banking, for the moment, as a lesser evil, can use a credit union with an ancillary account at the Triodos bank, or as a provisional option until a stronger alternative is fortified.

You can find the credit unions in the Spanish State at

These entities tend to have the operational advantage that they do not charge commissions, or very little anyway. On the other hand they have few branches, but the operation of automatic tellers and the internet is quite broad and in some cases they can operate through arrangements with other entities.

Also, by being cooperatives, they function in a somewhat democratic manner. And by being small, even if their investments should be conventional, the harm they can do is low and we imagine (we have not been able to confirm) that their managers are paid considerably less than in bank accounts.

That said, what we are recommending is to use them only operationally and not to save money for the long term. Another option more coherent with economic disobedience to banking that we propose is to reduce as much as possible the use of personal bank accounts, and to use them collectively via the projects of social and alternative financing, such as those found in the section of alternatives to the current system. This will allow the management of our money to be linked directly to the support of projects contrasting with capitalism, although this may mean reducing the convenience of personal direct deposit combined with the payment of bills at the counter, with the collective bargaining for basic services.

If you are moved to take action from the Move Your Money Campaign, which is promoting an action of transferring deposits from conventional banks into social financial entities and alternatives like Coop57, Fiare, Oikocredit, Som energia, and CASX. You can find more information from the campaign at and from some of these alternatives in the section on alternatives to the current system.

Depositors are those that have the most important role in determining the funding of the productive initiatives in the current economy and therefor carry the main burden of creating another economy.

Therefore the transfer of deposits to an ethical and cooperative bank is an important step towards a financial system that guarantees the development of projects aimed at the viability of a more humane and just future for all.