Friday, September 7, 2012

Credit Unions vs Big Banks: Remember, Remember The Fifth Of November...

" Remember, remember! 
The fifth of November,  
The Gunpowder treason and plot;  
I know of no reason 
Why the Gunpowder treason 
Should ever be forgot!"

V For Vendetta is one of my favorite films. I even dressed up as "V" for Halloween once.:) It is little surprise that last year, with all of the outrage over the big banks raising fees and minimum balances, yours truly would feel inspired to join those, who on the 5th of November 2011, removed their money from big banks to, in my case, my credit union.

The fact is, I am a very loyal guy. For years I was with Washington Mutual, one of the few larger banks who had a focus on the individual customer as opposed to the commercial account holders. Alas, with the housing crisis, they went under. They soon became Chase. I stayed for a bit then out went free checking and in came the rise of their minimum balance requirement, I switched to Wells Fargo. They were fine until they like Bank of America were quietly raising their fees for simply holding my money. I was fed up. Along came this grassroots uprising on November 5, 2011 and I knew I had to be a part of it.

I was nervous because I didn't know if I could put my money where my mouth was, so to speak. The convenience factor of bank ATMs everywhere you look versus that of my credit union, gave me pause. However, it turned out to be the best decision I ever made for my financial and professional well-being. I signed up for accounts at the AFTRA-SAG Federal Credit Union and have not looked back since. This adventure in "grassroots activism" forced me to get more focused about my finances. I do not take out money as carelessly as I have in the past. Luckily I live near a branch office. Isn't it funny how you don't notice what is right in front of you, until you need to see it?  The added plus is that every time I go to the credit union to make a deposit, I am reminded that all the other customers are in the same industry as well. It keeps me in this place of feeling proud to be a working actor. I am a part of a community when I go there. Yes, it may be silly. However, I went there this morning to deposit some residual checks I received etc. It gave me the opportunity to appreciate every little success I am making in my profession, including the unexpected residual.

It is always important, especially with my finances, to stay focused on the blessings that flow. Otherwise, you not only miss an opportunity to be grateful, you waste time stressing about money which never ever leads to productive decision-making.

I may seem nuts but, even a trip to the credit union can remind me that...

Life is great!

(If you were ever curious as I was what the actual "The Fifth of November" poem says, I included it below for your amusement, as well as the fantastic clip of from V for Vendetta!!).      

    English Folk Verse (c.1870)
    The Fifth of November

    Remember, remember!
    The fifth of November,
    The Gunpowder treason and plot;
    I know of no reason
    Why the Gunpowder treason
    Should ever be forgot!
    Guy Fawkes and his companions
    Did the scheme contrive,
    To blow the King and Parliament
    All up alive.
    Threescore barrels, laid below,
    To prove old England's overthrow.
    But, by God's providence, him they catch,
    With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
    A stick and a stake
    For King James's sake!
    If you won't give me one,
    I'll take two,
    The better for me,
    And the worse for you.
    A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
    A penn'orth of cheese to choke him,
    A pint of beer to wash it down,
    And a jolly good fire to burn him.
    Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
    Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
    Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!


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