The Occupy Wall Street movement has unleashed its new Occupy Money Cooperative, an effort to make banking services cheaper and more democratic. The effort, which is currently raising funds to release its “Occupy Card,” seeks to offer financial banking services to those who are otherwise shut out of the market due to steep banking fees associated with for-profit banking institutions.
The co-op, which is in its infancy, will aim to provide affordable financial services to its members and to avoid many of the fees and transaction costs associated with modern-day banking. The effort is currently accepting donations in order to fund its own staffing, promising to offer its first product, the “Occupy Card,” when it accrues adequate funds.
Although the Occupy movement prides itself in its anti-hierarchical nature, its co-op will have a founding board to direct its current early efforts. The main man behind the effort is Carne Ross, a former diplomat from the UK.
“We launched [the Occupy Money Cooperative] because we felt that the. . . for-profit banking industry. . . fails many millions of Americans who don’t have bank accounts and are denied banking services,” Ross explained to Forbes.
For Ross and other Occupy believers, the Cooperative is the next step for the anti-corporate movement. “[Occupy] has shifted from a protest phase to an action phase,” Ross said to The Guardian.
Although the Card will not come without any fees, the fees that do exist will be transparent to the consumer, Ross said. Between the lack of shareholders and the low operational costs, the hope is that more members will equal lower fees for all customers.
"I believe that we have to build new and better systems, methods of working and institutions. Our systems must reflect our fundamental political values," Ross said.
"Many will see Card use as 'A Protest with Every Purchase,' BUT, the Card isn’t only for Occupy supporters," advertises the official website. "People who are unbanked, underbanked, and even just angry banked, will all benefit from using the Card because it is a better and cheaper product."
While the launch of the initiative has drawn widespread attention, the details of the operation continue to be revealed. To keep up with the news, check out the co-op's latest updates.
Feature image screenshot by Geena Rose/Gavel Media.