The Permaculture Credit Union might be America’s greenest bank

Discussion in 'News from around the damp planet' started by Michaelangelica, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

    May 2, 2006
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    The Color of Money

    The Permaculture Credit Union might be America’s greenest bank​

    By: Corey Pein 03/10/2010

    Within a month of becoming president of the Santa Fe-based Permaculture Credit Union—a unique financial institution based, as the name suggests, on eco-friendly principles—Don Sarich had his first encounter with a skeptical government regulator.

    “One of the regulators said to me, ‘Don’t worry, you can get a job somewhere else because we’re going to shut you down.’ That’s a true quote,” Sarich says. “I thought, ‘Now I have to prove you wrong.’”

    That was in 2003. Times were different then. That February, President George W Bush had introduced his ideal of an “ownership society.” His Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, would soon cut interest rates to 1 percent, making it absurdly cheap for financial institutions to borrow money—and lend it out at much higher rates.

    The Fed’s easy credit policy helped create the appearance of rapid growth and unprecedented prosperity in a nation that no longer produced many tangible goods, preferring to leave that task to poorly paid laborers in faraway countries. The easy credit enabled record bank profits and, for executives, a number of private jet purchases. For average Americans, it encouraged runaway spending on needless luxuries and a quickly mounting pile of debt it now seems the nation may never repay.

    Then it all went bust.

    Since the early stages of the global financial crisis in 2007, 243 US banks and credit unions have failed, according to the online Bank Implode-O-Meter, which offers “Your play-by-play for the end game of modern banking.” Their assets—or what’s left of them—have been consumed by bigger fish. The federal government essentially invented a few trillion dollars, by printing more money and borrowing against hoped-for future growth, and used it to try to stimulate the credit markets, in what increasingly looks like a hopeless attempt to revive the illusory “ownership society.”

    Across the country, mailboxes once stuffed with pre-approved credit card offers began filling with foreclosure and past-due notices.

    Meanwhile, back in Santa Fe, PCU has more than doubled in size. And of the approximately $15 million in loans the young credit union has made, only $23,000 worth has been written off as uncollectable, Sarich says.

    “One was a foreclosure,” he says. “The member passed away, and the relatives couldn’t get rid of the house in time.”
    PCU By the Numbers • Members: 1,009

    • Estimated percentage of members with A+ credit scores: 80

    • Assets (including loans and investments):
    $5.65 million

    • Liabilities (including member deposits):
    $5.47 million

    • Number of loans outstanding: 257

    • Number of loans that are more than two months delinquent: 6

    • Average monthly income from fees, per member: $2.17

    • Number of employees: 3

    • Total employee compensation, including benefits (2009): $122,100

    • Federal bailouts received: 0

    • Average CEO compensation at financial institutions that took federal TARP bailout money: $3.4 million
  2. Jonathan Byron

    Jonathan Byron Junior Member

    Feb 25, 2010
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    Thanks for the heads-up on that ... I plan on opening an account there - put my savings to work ... alone, not much. Together - could be significant!
  3. wendyK

    wendyK New Member

    Sep 9, 2013
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    Credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions formed by members. It is becoming the “in” thing lately, as the past two years were fraught with individuals getting rid of big banks for community based ones. They aren't exactly running in droves, but a regular stream is pouring out of the banking industrial complex into credit unions. I read more: Credit Union vs Big Bank.

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