Last Thursday afternoon was an interesting moment in Seattle justice. The Chase 5 — a group of Occupy Seattle protesters who readily admitted they entered a Broadway bank to protest against the financial giant — was found not guilty of trespassing. We don’t recommend the Chase 5′s methods unless you, too, want to give the Seattle Municipal Court legal system a try. But plenty of people on Capitol Hill have found another way to weigh in on the “too big to fail” banking system.
Todd Pietzsch, a representative for BECU tells CHS that membership for the Broadway branch in Capitol Hill increased by 46% from 1,654 members in 2010, to 2,420 members in 2011. Pietzsch said the increase spiked after September 30, 2011, when Bank of America announced a five dollar fee for debit cards — a fee it would eventually back off on after a wave of criticism.
Pietzsch said the allure is better service and how credit unions are operated. “They are owned collectively by their members,” Pietzsch said. ”All of the revenue, by definition, has to go back to members.” The results are better interest rates and lower fees, Pietzsch says.
If you’re interested in a banking alternative — and don’t want to deal with any messy Occupy protesting — Capitol Hill options include Salal (originally the Group Health Credit Union) located at 115 15th Avenue, or BECU (Boeing Employee Credit Union) at 401 Broadway East and the Northwest Baptist Federal CU at 1823 E Madison. You can also check out smaller banks like Broadway’s Umpqua. It’s another way to help change the way things work — and you don’t have to go to jail to do it.