Monday, March 26, 2012

A pastor and other Inland religious leaders in California move money out of big banks, urge ethical banking

Rev. Jane Quandt, pastor of First Congregational Church of Riverside, has already transferred her home mortgage from Bank of America to locally based Provident Bank. On Monday she will close her Bank of America checking account while a small group of supporters looks on.

She is not moving her money in search of better interest rate or lower fees: For Quandt, it is an act of conscience.

She and other Inland religious leaders say they have heard too many stories of banks’ ill treatment of homeowners who have struggled – and often failed – to hang onto their houses as the economy spiraled down the drain. They are part of a growing group of clergy and congregants who are abandoning giant banks in favor of smaller community institutions to avoid taking part in what Quandt calls “institutional sin.”

“Christian churches tend to think of sin in personal terms, but it’s not just personal,” Quandt said. “There are times when it’s embedded in institutions and it’s embedded in systems.”

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