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The move your money campaign

March 2012 is Move Your Money month. The UK Move Your Money campaign is already underway.

In this post, MYM campaigners explain how MYM works and what we can do to regain control of banking.

We all know that our banking system has failed us. Nothing drives this home harder than bonus season, which is about to commence in all its obscene glory.

As youth unemployment soars and average real wages drop, million pound plus bonuses are likely to remain the norm in “too big to fail” banks. Stephen Hester may have turned down his taxpayer-funded bonus, but the likelihood that Bob Diamond (CEO of Barclays) or Stuart Gulliver (CEO of HSBC) will do the same ranges from unlikely to dreamworld.

The government has now bailed out British banks to the tune of £850bn. Yet, despite having received the biggest taxpayer bailout in history, the big banks continue to starve the real economy of credit, invest unethically and pay themselves bloated bonuses.

Like many others, we’re angry that it’s public sector workers and young people who are bearing the brunt of a crisis caused by bankers - and yet bankers don’t seem to be suffering that much.

So we’ve decided to take matters into our own hands and move our money.

Banks rely on the deposits of ordinary savers so when you choose where you keep your money, you are choosing between supporting business as usual or taking a simple but powerful step towards creating a better banking system.

Most people in the UK bank with the “big 5” (Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, RBS and Santander), but we don’t need to invest our money with institutions which have no respect for people or the environment. There is a flourishing group of alternative financial providers with business structures geared towards benefiting society at large, including credit unions, building societies, banks with strong ethical commitments, community development finance institutions and peer 2 peer platforms.

The truth is that banks won’t change of their own accord and politicians and regulators are too narrowly focused on maintaining the status quo. So it’s only by moving our money that we’re going to create a banking system that works.

So if you want to help create a banking system that works for the many and the few, here are three things you can do in March, which is move your money month:

1) Move your money – it only takes ten minutes but it’s the single most important thing you can do to change the banking system. Check out the campaign’s simple step-by-step guide for how to do it.

2) Host an event – put on a screening of The Inside Job at your university. Make sure other students know that the British banking system is failing us and it’s up to us to change it.

3) Lobby your council – find out who your council banks with, and if it’s one of the big 5, tell them to make the switch.

We’re all fed up with the banking system but luckily it’s in our power to change it. If you’re up for the challenge, join the Move Your Money campaign online and convince everyone you know to take action this March.

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