Move Your Money UK - An Ethical Model for Banks
I meet Julia outside of Old Street tube station in east London for a talk on her work for the Move Your Money UK movement. When we sit down, and I ask her about the initiative, her eyes brighten up.
“We are fairly young,” she explains, “but the immediate attention the campaign has generated has been fantastic.” “The other day, for example, I was attending a conference on climate change, and the speaker encouraged everyone to join Move Your Money. It was unexpected, but really inspiring.”
Move Your Money UK (MYM) is a British movement, led by a small group of young and talented people, whose main goal is to inform the UK public on alternative banking and transform the country's banking sector.
Dissatisfied with the way banks handle their customers’ money, MYM originated as a protest against the current state of financial affairs, starting with the controversial system of bank bonuses.
“It’s unacceptable that banks such as RBS, which is largely owned by the government, do what they do with our money.”
The campaign asks people to move their money from the big banks that commit unethical investments, such as financing companies with a poor human rights record, to more local, community-focussed and ethical alternatives: credit unions, mutually-owned banks, or banks that have explicit ethical commitments.
“The aim is to reach out to UK citizens, and let them know that there are different ways for their hard-earned cash to be invested. Ways that can help their local community and where moving their money can have tangible effects that can be seen and touched.”
Previous events organized by MYM have been a great success. “A few weeks ago we organized initiatives outside of Barclays branches to raise public awareness, and the people’s response was extraordinary.”
The next event will take place this Thursday, on the 23rd of February, from 8:45 am to 9:15 am, outside of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s branch in High Holborn. “We hope to gather a large number of people, and spread the message further.”
Starting in March, MYM will organize "Move your Money Month", where it encourages people to choose a random day in March and pledge to move their money.
“The fact that people from completely different backgrounds have participated to past gatherings highlights the fact that irresponsible and unethical banking is something which affects every single one of us, independent of our interests, politics, or age.”
Before finishing our conversation, Julia reveals a secret to me: “I personally want to inspire 100 people to move their money to more ethical institutions. I am just at the beginning, but if I convince enough people, I hope to make a big difference.”
Judging by the look of things, Julia will not have any problem achieving this.