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Ripples from Seattle’s $3B #NoDAPL move

Where should the city put its money?

Tony Webster

To refrain from funding the Dakota Access Pipeline, the City of Seattle is pulling about $3B from its account with Wells Fargo. The vote was unanimous. That may not stop the pipeline, but it is significant; and the city doesn’t have to worry about having that oil leaking onto their hands. The action will probably inspire others.

Withdrawing it is harder than depositing it. The city now has to find a place to put the money. It takes a big bank to handle that much money. Unfortunately, choosing another big bank can put the city back into the problem it had with Wells Fargo. If a bank or credit union or other financial institution is too small, the city can’t deposit more than $250,000. Managing enough accounts to spread the wealth would cost too much.

One solution would inspire the state to take on yet another unprecedented move, the creation of a state bank; but that will require legislative action.

They can’t just put it under a mattress somewhere. (The stack of $1 bills under a king-size mattress would be about a half a mile thick.) They will, however have to find a place to put it. Three billion is small, relative to the size of the state’s real estate market, so it shouldn’t affect mortgages. Three billion is large, for many of the more socially responsible institutions. The money dance has probably already begun.

Do we get a free toaster with a new account?

Check Seattle Weekly’s report, which includes intriguing details like the 13,000 people who RSVP’ed for the meeting.