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Occupy the World

Cooperative Federal stands with
Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Syracuse

Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union stands in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Syracuse, and the nonviolent Occupy demonstrations now occurring in communities across the globe. A resolution expressing this sentiment was passed unanimously by our Board of Directors, a committee of volunteers elected by their fellow members to govern our credit union.

Cooperative Federal exists to foster economic justice, mutual aid, and reinvestment in all the neighborhoods of Syracuse, NY. This is a work in progress that depends on the participation of an active and committed membership.

Thirty years ago, Cooperative Federal was organized by a group of local activists seeking a viable alternative to global corporate banks. Their vision was radical: divestment from the racist Apartheid regime in South Africa; fair services for people of color, single women, the LGBT community, activists and other low-income or nontraditional workers; a non-profit financial cooperative operated by the people and for the people. While we have grown in size and sophistication, that vision continues to guide us.

Our credit union’s mission is closely aligned with that of the Occupy movement.

We oppose the domination of our economic and political life by giant banks and multinational corporations. They have abandoned and neglected our communities, forsaken working people, and collapsed the U.S. economy through their insatiable greed. They have used their vast economic power to unduly influence public policy, harness government to serve corporate interests, and corrode democracy.

We find it reprehensible that 1% of the U.S. population controls 40% of the wealth, and that this 1% uses its wealth to advance its self-interests with disregard for the wellbeing of the 99%. We advocate holding accountable the perpetrators of the financial collapse.

We honor the peoples' right to a peaceable, public redress of grievances. This right is enshrined in our Constitution and in our traditions.

We believe that institutions, both public and private, should serve the people. Government at all levels ought to represent the interests of the 99% in helping to create a better way forward.

We know that it is possible to create functional and sustainable institutions in which cooperation and mutual aid supersede the desire for profit.

We cherish inclusion, equity, and a participatory democratic process. We believe that people coming together and creating cultural and economic alternatives is a revolutionary act, and that such acts honor our sisters and brothers who have painstakingly built human civilization.

Through our daily work, we strive to live these values.

We pool our members’ savings and deploy the aggregate funds in ways that provide the most positive impact for the community – as loans for first-time homebuyers, home repair, micro-business, cooperatives, nonprofits and the personal financial needs of our members.

Our investment in Syracuse to date is over $90 million. All – yes, all – of our members’ money is put to work in and for the local community.

More than any other financial institution in Syracuse, we provide financial services to those who are underserved by conventional for-profit banks. We serve a growing number of recent immigrants and refugees, from every corner of the globe. Most of our members live on low incomes. And a majority (51%) of our members are people of color.

Our credit union is owned and democratically controlled by its members. We have no other owners. Each member, regardless of their wealth, has an equal vote and an equal share in our success.

These are the keys to a system that works for people, not for profit.

Based on these shared values, Cooperative Federal is proud to express support for and solidarity with the Occupy movement. Together, we can build a brighter future.