As Many as 24 People Arrested for Trying to Close Accounts at #Citibank

Daily Kos publicized a story captured on Global Revolution, of perhaps as many as 30 people being arrested for attempting to close their Citibank accounts. Kos originally said 30 people were arrested; an update now says 17, again per Global Revolution.

The New York Post reports that 24 people were arrested; its characterization is that a “mob stormed” a branch at Laguardia Place in Manhattan. The basis for the arrests appears to be plenty dubious. Later accounts indicate that people trying to close their accounts were locked in the branch and then arrested for illegal trespass. This video (hat tip Mike Stark) appears to support the protestors’ claims. Notice that the people in the branch are not disruptive, and a woman outside the branch, who had documents to show she was a Citibank customer but apparently had been inside the branch, was grabbed by the police and forced into the branch:

This was Citibank’s statement:

A large amount of protesters entered our branch at 555 La Guardia Place around 2:00 PM today. They were very disruptive and refused to leave after being repeatedly asked, causing our staff to call 911. The Police asked the branch staff to close the branch until the protesters could be removed. Only one person asked to close an account and was accommodated.

I suspect there will be other footage taken by the participants to determine the accuracy of Citibank’s version of the story. The people in the branch did not look “disruptive” in the clip above, and if Citi closed the branch early, that would prevent others from making account closure requests.

This looks troublingly similar to an effort by Bank of America last August to stop account closures by individual who wanted to send a message, in which the police barred access to the branch in St. Louis:

I don’t know what the branch staff was thinking. This is yet another incident that is only going to engender more sympathy for the little guy versus the banks, whether expressed via Occupy Wall Street or other channels.

One of the things the powers that be seem to be underestimating is how they cannot present a cherry-picked version of what happened with so many people able to take videos. As we’ve said earlier, the same way that graphic TV coverage of the war in Vietnam was crucial in turning public sentiment against the war, so to are heavy-handed police actions against non-threatening protestors going to undermine the credibility of the officialdom.

Update: Some suggestions courtesy the website Red, Green and Blue:

Call Citibank President Vikram Pandit and tell him to stop arresting his customers. He told Fortune magazine he’d be happy to talk to Occupy Wall Street! His office line is (212) 793-1201, and his email address is Other numbers to try: (866) 213-0890 (718) 248-6433 or (210) 677-7284, or on Twitter @askCiti

If you have a Citibank account, take your business to a good local credit union or bank. Find a local credit union.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. citalopram

    Awesome, just awesome. I’m so glad I was wrong in saying I didn’t think OWS would go anywhere. I hope this is just the beginning. My guess is that BofA is going to force them to sue people. I hope they get a judgement soon.

  2. MsExPat

    Note that the woman in the suit was not grabbed by a uniformed officer, but by an undercover cop wearing a hoodie, who literally plucks her off the ground by the armpits. (in the video, this is @ 1:40)

    If I’d been grabbed by a strange man in such a fashion, I would have started kicking, screaming and trying to hit him, thinking that I was being assaulted.

    I wonder if she is the person who was charged with resisting arrest.

    1. furiouscalves

      that is the story here.

      regardless of what went on, we essentially have pinkertons, stool pigeons, paid stooges, and COINTELPRO at work here.

      the same story repeats again. i suspect that this time the kids don’t realize that google and apple are the big guns that we be used to crack down on not promote the cause. just show up at city centers and shut off the phone and kill the wifi. human microphone and old school camcorders? jeez…what’s a patriot to do?

      -with love from the Iron Range.

    2. PL

      She’s got one heck of a civil assault and battery case against the bank, its private security goons and NYC police. Those videotapes will come in handy in discovery. Now which NYC tort lawyer will she retain to represent her? I’m betting on Sanford Rubenstein.

      1. Susan the other

        …but they are already ginning up the replacement contraband trade – the opium trade with Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India… pretty sure that cash will slime its way through our virtuous banks…

    1. Maria

      I am going to open a Citibank account just to see if the fine print includes that you will be arrested if you try to close your account!

  3. Lambert Strether

    And don’t the flaks at Citi know how to write? It’s not “A large amount of protesters.”

    “A large amount” is used with non-countable nouns (like money or garbage) and not countable nouns (like persons or customers).

    Way to dehumanize, there, Citi!

    Of course, Citi’s remaining customers already know they’re totally dehumanized, so I guess no harm no foul.

  4. Sufferin' Succotash

    George Carlin is undoubtedly laughing his ass off in that spot of the Elysian Fields specially reserved for loudmouthed malcontents.

  5. Steve Zielinski

    “I don’t know what the branch staff was thinking. This is yet another incident that is only going to engender more sympathy for the little guy versus the banks, whether expressed via Occupy Wall Street or other channels.

    One of the things the powers that be seem to be underestimating is how they cannot present a cherry-picked version of what happened with so many people able to take videos. As we’ve said earlier, the same way that graphic TV coverage of the war in Vietnam was crucial in turning public sentiment against the war, so to are heavy-handed police actions against non-threatening protestors going to undermine the credibility of the officialdom.”

    It appears that our Bankster friends are feeling nervous. I wonder if this event reflects bank policy or if a local branch lost its nerve.

    1. IrishRed

      TPTB seem to have been caught totally flat-footed on this one.

      Given the considerable resources at their disposal I would expect a serious coordinated backlash immediately. With every bought and paid for media outlet and all the in-the-corporation-pocket congress rats speaking from the same talking points ad nauseum throughout the day.

      It’s a tough story to spin, though. They’re going to have to argue that letting a tiny percentage of the citizens suck $9TRILLION out of the economy using egregions fraud and self dealing was somehow a good thing.

      1. Maximilien

        I don’t watch much MSM (for fear of sinking into a terminal stupor). From what little I have watched, it looks like they’re going with the “jobs” meme. You know, the people are angry because they don’t have JOBS.

        This neatly skirts all those other nasty, embarrassing issues and gives all concerned a nice, safe talking-point.

        1. Doug Down South

          From the video, I’d actually side with the bank employees here. If I worked at a bank, and I saw 20+ people walk in together I’d get a little nervous. I might even get scared that the bank was being robbed. If someone whispered that this was part of the OWS protest, I’d likely call the police to disperse them.

          While I have no love for bank executives, I do have a certain amount of sympathy for bank tellers. Especially bank tellers confronted by 20 people that really hate the symbol on their name tag.

          1. mk

            it wouldn’t scare me one bit. just ask what they want, to withdraw their money? fine, it’s a legal transaction. what’s to fear? these are customers who do not agree with the business practices of the bank who want to take their own money out, who have the right to choose who they want to do business with. Fear has no place here. I’m really beginning to understand “Nothing to fear but fear itself”. Fear is an excuse used to justify violence, it’s bull, especially in this case.

          2. alex

            I can understand nervous employees in that branch calling the police, but what the hell are the police doing? Those people had no weapons and were not being violent in any way or threatening (especially to armed police officers). Under those circumstances, shouldn’t the police first ask questions of the protesters? Or is that a dated police tactic?

            People with Citi accounts are legitimately conducting business, protest or not. Hell, have a couple of cops stick around while everybody closes their accounts. But arrest people because a few bank employees were nervous? I don’t think so.

          3. Yves Smith Post author

            I bank at a little bank which was bought by a bigger but not TBTF bank. It is famous for getting robbed. There are routinely a ton of people in the branch. The staff does not freak out.

            They clearly knew these were protestors, not robbers. I’m not sympathetic with your argument.

          4. Richard Kline

            So Doug [Name Hijack], your cavil is meritless. A robbery? I’d think you were joking, but you said it. Three-four guys in nondescript clothes with their faces shielded or hidden = robbery potential. _Not_ present. One hundred people packing into the branch many of them patently not bank customers = group action justifying calling police. _Not_ present. Twenty people coming in mad as hell and talking about taking their money out = normal business day. Even that, _not_ present. Two dozen orderly people waiting in line to close their accounts for a stated political reason, even if that reason was given, is not cause for arrest. Unless the police work for the financial mafia which in this instance evidently they do. And so, one supposes, do you ‘Doug.’ Just who is paying you to hang around and sandbag comments like this??

  6. Charles Frith

    The best thing about all this is after criticizing the US and its policies for the last decade we increasingly around the world start to see the unheard American voice again. We want to stand shoulder to shoulder with. We are with you. We admire you once more.

    1. Glenn Condell

      Yes indeed. They may not be free yet but if they keep on with the brave they’ll get there, making it far more likely the rest of us will too. They are at Ground Zero of this battle and carry the hopes of millions all over the world. The paradigm is shifting, thanks to that part of the US which refuses to be bought and won’t lie down. Inspiring.

      1. rafael bolero

        Thanks. You got that right! Here in WI we fight despite Walker’s totally rigging the recall as fast as possible with ALEX/Koch help. You are seeing the US intelligent/educated arising in anger, finally, at the stupid media/political idiots around us.

    2. JasonRines

      Good man. We the People now mean all of us. And all of us now have the giant mirror now showing all mankind his beauty and his blemishes. We choose to fight our imperfection and not permit further externalization. We all have a hard road of problem solving this next decade.

      It is time people and races of all stripes be willing to die for one another and not for the false god of empires and money alone.

  7. gs_runsthiscountry

    haha… they are trying to put a “run” on some of these small branches that keep low vault cash, that isn’t as difficult as some would believe.

    Excellent way of driving a point home – and a PR nightmare for a branch managers with cameras in the vicinity. If this is indeed happening, it is not surprising they are denying customers entry or closing early.

    You certainly don’t want grandma or grandpa watching the 6 0’clock news and here their bank closed “because they didn’t have enough money.”

  8. wunsacon

    Anytime I try to close an account at any large corp, the representative always directs my call to a retention specialist. But, *this*? This takes retention to a new level.

    “Detention specialist”?

  9. LucyLulu

    So, let’s get this straight. The protestors refused to leave when asked, so what does Citibank do when unwanted customers won’t leave? Why, what else? They lock them in the bank to prevent them from leaving and drag those who DID leave back in the doors. Then they arrest them for refusing to leave.

    Bonus points for anybody who can identify what’s wrong with this picture………

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m not sure they were refusing to leave. I’m not certain that everyone who wanted to close their account got to close their account. I have a sneaking suspicion that Citi closed the branch (or some/all teller stations) and used that to refuse to take requests (so that their statement about honoring all requests is narrowly true but substantively inaccurate). My assumption is the protestors would have left once all their buddies who wanted to close their accounts had done so.

      1. LucyLulu

        I was relying on Citibank’s statement that they were refusing to leave. Whether it was true or not, I can’t say, but it doesn’t seem to make sense if they were, to lock them in the bank and drag somebody back in.

        “They were very disruptive and refused to leave after being repeatedly asked, causing our staff to call 911.”

        1. Yves Smith Post author


          First, do you think the branch staff necessarily told head office the truth? Lying up the line (more formally known as strategic omission) is crucial to survival in large organizations.

          Second, my assumption is that the protestors were accompanying/included people who wanted to close their accounts. Do you honestly believe it was ONLY one person, as Citi insists? This strains credulity. Having one person close an account is a pretty pathetic statement.

          I find my scenario more plausible:

          1. People enter branch, with signs (who knows if they were otherwise “disruptive”) and some get into teller lines to close accounts.

          2. Branch manager freaks out. Since head office is closed, they probably can’t get good guidance from anyone on what to do.

          3. One person gets to close account before managers start closing teller windows before published branch closing hours.

          4. Protestors refuse to leave because branch is supposed to be open and some people who wanted to close their accounts have been thwarted. Their plan was to leave when the people who were there to get their funds got them and they were not about to be thwarted.

          1. LucyLulu

            Your scenario makes perfect sense. You won’t get any argument from me on anything you’ve said.

            I guess I didn’t make myself clear (I do that sometimes.) I was attempting to point out the contradictions in Citibank’s statements, first saying protestors wouldn’t leave when they wanted them to, followed by preventing them from leaving. An analogy, if you may. I’ve got some drunk, obnoxious party-crashers at my house who I want to leave and they refuse. Would I need (or want) to lock them in my house, much less go out and drag partiers back in who’d already left? Or would I leave the doors open, and if they happened to leave, breathe a sigh of relief that they were gone? And unlike Citi, I have no complicating potential PR issues to deal with. In other words, Citi’s statement didn’t pass the smell test.

            Perhaps these protestors should take Mr. Bandit (love it) up on his offer, and submit an invoice for expenses for legal fees and time and inconvenience they suffer.

          2. rd

            These bank branches have extensive video systems to prevent teller and bank robber theft. This is going to be very expensive for Citigroup if they had a whole bunch of people falsely arrested.

            The people who were arrested will be able to get the time and date stamped video from inside and outside the branch. If they were peaceful and within normal branch hours, then Citgroup will likely be facing numerous lawsuits for false arrest. There will be video from ceiling cameras inside the branch, ATM cameras, and probably some outside the branch entrance. The landlord could have other video available from other cameras outside covering the general area of the bank.

            I would be very surprised if this event is not fully documented from at least four angles covering everything inside and immediately outside the branch. If peaceful people with accounts were manhandled, then there could be other lawsuits than just false arrest.

          3. Stepph

            As RD says:

            Indeed. If BOA have a case, let them prove it with video. They’ll have to put words in people’s mouths, since I bet everyone is calm, nonviolent, and not physically threatening.

    2. craazyman

      This is weird.

      Some branches have free coffee and pastries to encourage customers to stay!

      Then sometimes when I use ATM inside there’s at least 3 people who try to rope me into conversations about other banking services.

      And then when I leave they say “Have a good day, sir!”

      So this woman gets assaulted for being “inside the bank”? I don’t get this. I thought that’s where Citibank wanted their customers to be, inside the bank. Not sure why they didn’t use this as a cross-sell opportunity. Maybe Mr. Pandit knows what’s going on. But I doubt it. LOL. The CEO can’t know everything, for sure.

      I wonder if they’ll give this woman a year’ worth of free checking, just for the inconvenience and misunderstanding. I hope so. Either that or a $5 million out of court settlement for aggravated assault (I’d take the $5 million, ha ha). LOL. yeah, way to go Citibank. Total panic is never a good business strategy.

  10. Howie

    Everybody, anybody with any sympathy for these protestors and what they are trying to accomplish…please stop using your debit cards…banks are taking in billions of dollars in profits because people are too lazy to get a
    month’s pocket money out and spend it in everyday transactions. It’s your money. Use it. Don’t pay for the privilege of using it.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Ditto to what Howie said.

      A small deli owner told me he is getting nicked with over 6% in fees on small debit card transactions.


      1. Susan the other

        Plus cash is more difficult and time consuming for the idiot bank to handle. Haha. We really need to begin to form a people’s bank here and now. It should be the only bank where the people agree to use plastic without being paid to do so. A distinct advantage right off the bat. The other banks want to use plastic? They can pay us for the opportunity. They can pay us a fee every month for using their plastic.

  11. KFritz

    How much popular support does OWS and its permutations ‘enjoy’ among the population at large? Unless support is significant and the ‘powers that be’ are rationally afraid of some mass movement, there’s a panicky quality to official response. To bring that kind of force to bear against a few people in a branch bank reeks of fear. The crown lies uneasy.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      If you knew you were outnumbered 99 to one (or 99.9% to 0.1%) wouldn’t you be a little bit insecure if your underlings started to realize they might really have the upper hand?

      1. Capo Regime


        As you know it will not take the 99.9% to terrify or better yet undermine the the .01’s. Once 15 to 20% of the people are firmly against them things will tip. They know this and it scares them. It all happens at the margins, the bulk of the 99 will sadly still be apathetic and or in circumstances limiting their actions. Once you have 10% firmly against the TBTB then it quickly explodes to 20 to 25% percent firmly against TBTB and you have a game changer. Thus–they have to nip it in the bud but alas technology has undermined their ability to do so–but they will not give up (TBTB) easily and all manner of duplicity and cupidity (and outright evil) will be deployed in their service.

  12. Richard Kline

    For those who want to update on things at the other coast of the country:

    A surprisingly sympathetic article on today’s gathering in Seattle. has a livestream as well. I was there throughout the march, and will be checking in again this morning.

    The occupation here has been under pressure all week, and was briefly pushed out of Westlake Park Friday night with its last tent removed before recruiting bodies and reestablishing a presence. An _amazing_ number of tents tonight, conceivably as many as the 150 the reporters mention, in a planned reestabllishment. Protest at the Chase Bank branch newly installed at the south end of the Park. The Occupiers are well-organized and at core very much those you see and know from other places. Yes, many folks of many causes came for the 15 October rally, but the Occupation was there before and remains after.

    For those of you who don’t know this ground, Westlake Park is the core of the shopping district, and virtually the only public open space of more than postage stamp size in the downtown core as Seattle authorities have resisted having a public gathering spot since the General strike here some generations back. Whether to hold that ground or another is a tactical issue, but to me the Occupiers are right to resist the call of the authorities to disperse. This is what we’ve heard ‘from the top’ for years and certainly since the start of the financial crisis: ‘they’ will handle it, and ‘we’ are to stay out of the way while Serious People manage these things. Well whoever THEY have been, their management ranges from disastrous to criminal, so they have forfeited the mantle of vested authority however much the institutions of law and governance remain under their control. —And that is a key issue in the Occupations, to me, that we, the vast majority, are no longer prepared to let ‘them’ manage things for the 1% ‘as usual.’ Resistance to authority in this is crucial; not merely petitioning power for redress of grievances but non-compliance with corrupt and malfeasant power. The police here are not necessarily either corrupt or malfeasant, but the power puppeteering the institutions of authority can be confronted only by first confronting that authority. The struggle to hold ground isn’t merely symbolic but central; that is what I found particularly heartening about those in Liberty Plaza holding their ground.

    Others are doing so where they live. Particularly cute small children with their parents in our crowd here: Children of the evolution . . . .

    1. Richard Kline

      I will add that the ‘give me my money back’ actions at branches of the rotten and unjustly saved money center banks is an inspired tactic, straight off Gene Sharp’s list, and of the kind that other broad spectrum political change movements have used in their early days. The authorities will look like thuggish cretins for arresting peaceful people doing what they have a legal right to do, while doing nothing simply allows the meme of ‘these are criminal enterprises, these banks’ to flourish. And many can participate who might otherwise be reluctant to get involved in any public way with an occupation or formal protest. Push the power down and sideways into the hands of the citizenry, that is what the best protests do, and what leaderless movements such as the Zones of Occupation both must do and do best. I’m very glad to see tactics evolving at a steady pace.

      Now, I _don’t_ have a bank account at one of the rotten Five Zombies . . . but Citi did buy up one of my credit card issuers several years ago. So I paid down and transfered what balance there was—but kept the card. It costs Citi money to reserve against my credit line. What I’m saying is, find ways to vote with your funds, there’s more than one way to poach a roach.

      1. Typing Monkey

        I will add that the ‘give me my money back’ actions at branches of the rotten and unjustly saved money center banks is an inspired tactic

        IMO, this is a much, much more effective tactic than protesting or picketing. There is really no way to stop people from withdrawing their own funds, and if done en masse, this will immediately affect a bank’s bottom line, and perhaps significantly so.

        This leads to an obvious question: why hasn’t it already been done?

        1. Richard Kline

          Because without the protests, individuals inherently tend to feel poor, isolated, powerless, and passive. The function of a public protest is only secondarily to physically confront X, and often if that is the goal the protest loses; the leverage to succeed in a one-off action is exceedingly rare. The primary function of public protest is for solidarity and networking, and to demonstrate even to those who don’t participate physically that they are not alone. This is why the holding actions of the Zones of Occupations is so important; you look up any day and every day and see that you are not alone in what everyone so obviously and completely understands, that our society has been stolen and our financial system is in the hands of criminals.

          1. Typing Monkey

            *shrug* I think the protests would’ve been far more effective if people were told to first close their accounts, and *then* go protest (or to withdraw funds in sympathy with the protesters). But then, what do I know?

            Because without the protests, individuals inherently tend to feel poor, isolated, powerless, and passive.

            If they feel poor now, just wait ’till they see what happens to their pensions.

            I remember wondering if globalization would ever lead to global strikes. It was just one of those many random musings that sort of pop into my head from time to time, but global OWS-type demonstrations this weekend have brought back that thought.

            you are not alone in what everyone so obviously and completely understands, that our society has been stolen and our financial system is in the hands of criminals.

            This is where I begin to get very critical. The financial system is one aspect of a much larger problem. The medical industry is no better than the financial one, for example. The educational system is outright abysmal. The legislative process is a travesty. To say single out the financial system as the source of all ills is a little simplistic, I think.

            And yes, the “little guy” does share in the blame–society wasn’t so much stolen as willingly handed over. The speculation in housing was rampant. You’d have thought that after losing a ton of money in an internet bubble, people would’ve learned something, but they didn’t (why and how they didn’t is really beyond me.) And yet, somehow, nobody takes any responsibility for their indebtedness. To lay the blame solely on the banks is both unfair and, more importantly, leads to a distorted understanding of the reality (and therefore incorrect models as to what is required to “fix” the current reality).

            Unfortunately, whenever I write something like this, someone will inevitably post something along the lines that I’m supporting the banks. I’m not–in fact, I’ve been highly critical of them for well over a decade and I’m hoping to get a good opportunity to short the hell out of them again soon. But the banks weren’t *solely* responsible. They didn’t force people to take insanely leveraged bets on things they clearly didn’t understand. And I’m willing to bet that a lot of people who are pissed off (and, perhaps, actively protesting) the banks’ and governments’ actions were probably a short few years ago shouting down and ridiculing those who warned them not to take hugely leveraged bets on purchasing overpriced first or second homes. It’s sort of hard to feel a lot of sympathy for either side, to be honest…

            In any case, that’s probably too far of a digression. The original thought still stands–if the general view is that bankers only care about money and don’t care about your opinion of them, it makes far more sense to withdraw your money first, and then voice your opinion.

            (BTW, fwiw, I always look forward to all of your comments and tend to scan for them and Blissex first…)

          2. F. Beard

            To lay the blame solely on the banks is both unfair TM

            Wrong. The banks are almost entirely to blame. Banks are counterfeiters with the difference being that they lend their “money-from-nothing” instead of spending it themselves. Those who didn’t borrow were priced out of the market by those who did borrow.

            And why is it, in our so-called “free market economy”, that the banks have a government enforced/backed money monopoly?

        2. F. Beard

          This leads to an obvious question: why hasn’t it already been done? TM

          It should be done. However, there is no risk-free place to store fiat outside the banking system. So individual banks could be targeted but not the system as a whole.

          1. Melody

            “To say single out the financial system as the source of all ills is a little simplistic, I think.”

            It may be simplistic . . . but it’s a start! Agree that BigPharma, BigMedicine, BigEnergy, BigEducation, BigMedia, BigAg–all deserve remediation . . . but since most people still have a bit of money, still have a bank account, still use credit/debit card . . . THIS (IMO) seems the perfect place to start.

        3. mk

          I heard max keiser suggest something like this a couple of years ago, people who have accounts at the same establishments organizing and forcing these establishments to give them better returns on savings accounts, change fraudulent practices, etc. by threatening to move their money.

          We humans must learn to communicate/work together to achieve common goals. Like those schools of fish that swim together and suddenly change direction seemingly at the same time.

          If most people who have savings accounts in a bank all got together and told the bank they will move their money elsewhere unless they got a 3% return on their money, banks would negotiate.

        4. Crazy Horse

          “The financial system is one aspect of a much larger problem. The medical industry is no better than the financial one, for example. The educational system is outright abysmal. The legislative process is a travesty. To say single out the financial system as the source of all ills is a little simplistic, I think.”

          What aspect of the word “system” don’t you understand? The “financial system” accounts for 40% of the “economic activity” in the USA. It sits at the center of what has been the key economic driver in the economy, the mortgage loan ponzi scheme. It owns the Congress and the Presidency outright by virtue of having bought them. And it owns the graduates of our universities as perpetual debt slaves through the trillion dollar student loan scam and debt slavery bankruptcy laws. And, through the private fractional reserve banking system, it controls the ability to create money and inject it into the nations money supply.

          When you have cancer, you don’t cure it by clipping your fingernails. When you have a systemic problem you do not remedy it by putting a band aid on one of the open wounds it caused.

  13. F. Beard

    We do need a Postal Savings Bank so that our only alternative to the banking system is NOT under the mattress. And though small community banks and credit unions are probably better, they too engage in what used to be called fractional reserve banking, creating money from nothing in exchange for a promise to repay that money (plus interest). How is that any different than counterfeiting except for the detail that the money is loaned and not spent?

    1. Richard Kline

      So F., I’ve personally argued for something much like that from the very inception of the financial crisis. There is a nascent effort to pursue a State Public Bank here in Washington State, much as North Dakota has had long and successfully. I now think that this model might well work better in the US than a single Federal Postal Banks. Any centralized organ would have grubby public hands all over it from the outset, and would be under tremendous pressure to cooperate with the Federal Reserve at the very least. It would be excessively vulnerable to official capture, is my concern. In the US, however, federal-ism is an integral part of our government and society, and specifically as a check-and-balance against corrupt central authority. Yes, some state public banks might be prey to local criminal operators as in Orange County, CA and in Birmingham, AL. But many local banks would go the way of North Dakota as cleaving close to their missions and mandates to the public gain.

      1. F. Beard

        Government should not be in the lending business at all, much less engage in fractional reserve lending. What a Postal Savings Bank would do is simply store and transfer fiat risk-free, without charge (within normal limits) and without paying interest. And once the public has a safe place to store its fiat, then all government privileges for banking can be removed. Banking can then carry on privately as what it is, an inherently risky business.

        As for the Federal Government looting the savings, that is ridiculous since the Federal Government has the inherent right to create any amount of its own fiat. Why steal what it can create? It would be the non-monetarily-sovereign States that would be most likely to loot a savings bank.

        1. craazyman

          Beard i appreciate your passion and persistence on this topic — but government and banks are simply two forms through which collective psyche organizes itself.

          They are both structures of imagination that have a legitimacy and potency only by virtue of our collective agreement to recognize them, as with so many things that we call reality.

          Both can be commandeered by a false and corrupt conscisousness and turned into agents of extraction and oppression. And both can be administered with a clear-sighted and refined awareness of their power to create and destroy.

          The pathways for corruption or for enlightenment differ from one to the other. But the demon seed can bring forth its evil tree in either one, if the people don’t tend their garden carefully. It seems to be it’s the structure and characterstics of the operating system of consciousness itself that’s the dependent variable, and that the result — whether through government-backed fiat money or private money — depends less on the money system than on the collective psyche that adminsters it.

        2. F. Beard

          And both can be administered with a clear-sighted and refined awareness of their power to create and destroy. craazyman

          Wrong. It is to be expected that government, having a monopoly on legal force, shall tax us and punish crime. What is not be be expected is fascism, government privilege for private interests. Government support for banking allows theft of purchasing power from some for the benefit of others. It cannot be justified.

          Learn your lesson, Progressives. You can’t win when you make a pact with the Devil.

          1. skippy

            A Monolithic Deity having control over every thing…would seemingly be the Uber-Fascist, so whats your point again?

            Skippy…any who…the peoples monies is just fine, people just have to take it back from the private sector pirates.

          2. F. Beard

            A Monolithic Deity having control over every thing…would seemingly be the Uber-Fascist, skippy

            Bible search of “liberty”

            Btw, are you a father? Are you therefore a fascist?

            so whats your point again? skippy

            My point is that the private sector (based on voluntary cooperation) should have separate money supplies from the government (based on force).

            Skippy…any who…the peoples monies is just fine, people just have to take it back from the private sector pirates. skippy

            Then why didn’t the Commies succeed?

          3. skippy

            Society is coercive…too the individual. What matters is to what purpose that society lends its self, greed, unsubstantiated beliefs, killing every thing around it whilst it figures its self out, etc.

            “Then why didn’t the Commies succeed?”—beard.

            They gave up, were bought off, were afraid of besting the biblical kill ratio, by the way nice stuff sliding in the red scare.

            Skippy…sure would be nice to here you opine about something other than if we all obeyed the bible, all would be sweet. Thousands of years of carnage, yet some think some day, and round and round we go. Some folks are just thick, government is now privately owned, your system_is_in effect. This is the process of consolidation of private interests….shezz. Government is the middle managers…baaa…baaa…beard.

            PS. you really need to get out and around the world, get some life experience.

          4. F. Beard

            sure would be nice to here you opine about something other than if we all obeyed the bible, skippy

            Such as proposing a universal bailout that would eliminate all private debt in the US without price inflation? I already have.

            all would be sweet. skippy

            Abolishing government backed/enforced violation of “Thou shall not steal” (especially from the poor) by bankers and business would not be a big improvement? I thought Progressives were concerned with the poor? No?

          5. Skippy

            I’ll stick with what Heretic informed you about, you really should bone up on behavioral science. If you did, you would find that your solutions, in fact, would be a criminal]s play ground. Heck since monies creation counterfeiting has been the greatest threat see Newtons efforts, would his ghost visit you.

            BTW how many private monies to you foresee, 10, 50, 100s, 1000s[?], one big free for all? More Free-market!

            Skippy…thousands of years of fail (death, destruction, murder, crimes against humanity, eradication of hole ethnic society’s) yet some still follow, cognitive [????] is their a word that truly expresses (OCD?). Its like watching OWS folks getting mentally kettled by the cops.

          6. F. Beard

            you really should bone up on behavioral science. skippy

            I am 3 hours short of a degree in BS in Psychology. And yes, I took operant conditioning and trained my own rat with a Skinner Box.

            BTW how many private monies to you foresee, 10, 50, 100s, 1000s[?], one big free for all? More Free-market! skippy

            Who knows? But one could always choose to use fiat for all debts. The private currencies would tend to keep fiat honest and vice versa.

          7. skippy

            Rats don’t believe in deity’s, use currency for exchange, nor create HFT programs, although they are subject too Scalability and Self-Similarity:

            James H. Brown, Vijay K. Gupta, Bai-Lian Li, Bruce T. Milne, Carla Restrepo and Geoffrey B. West’s <The fractal nature of nature: power laws, ecological complexity and biodiversity (2002)

            In addition:

            The exceptional scalability of human societies:

            Fractal growth per se may involve branching that grow by multiples (exponential growth, e.g., even you savings account grows by a yearly multiple, say 1.03 for 3%). If population growth were fractal or a constant multiple (say 2% per year) population would grow exponentially. Thomas Malthus thought if population grows exponentially at a constant percent of increase, while food productivity grows at a linear rate, population will outstrip food supply to create a crisis of overpopulation. This Malthusian "observation" seems to works well for agrarian polities, as in Peter Turchin's (2004,2006) model of historical dynamics.

            "The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race. The vices of mankind are active and able ministers of depopulation. They are the precursors in the great army of destruction, and often finish the dreadful work themselves. But should they fail in this war of extermination, sickly seasons, epidemics, pestilence, and plague advance in terrific array, and sweep off their thousands and tens of thousands. Should success be still incomplete, gigantic inevitable famine stalks in the rear, and with one mighty blow levels the population with the food of the world." Malthus Essay on the Principle of Population 1798

            Figure 1. World Population Crises from Power-law growth, Kremer 1993 data
            But for post-agrarian or industrial economies, it has only been known since von Foerster, Mora and Amiot (1960) that world population over long periods tends to grow superexponentially, that is, according to power-law growth where the percentage of population increase accelerates proportionally to the size of the population. Population scales according to some power of the current population, e.g., Pt+1=Pt1.001 instead of exponentially at Pt+1=1.03 Pt. This happens in cities. It does not happen because of increasing fertility in cities but by attraction of migrants to cities, and what would be the emptying of rural areas if it were not that rural areas compensate by raising their total fertility, achieving population growth or stability in rural areas while feeding generations of new migrants into cities.

            This is a very special problem of the "modern" era, with its spiking rise in world population up to 1962, rise in urbanization, and impoverization of rural areas. When superexponential growth take the power-law form of growth it rises toward an infinite population in a finite time. The finite time period is called the singularity of power-law growth. The year 1962 marked a (necessary) transition in world population from a power-law growth trend with a singularity in 2027 to a lower and apparently more stable or exponential rate of increase.

            That is not the end of the story, however. The early stages of power-law growth curves are so gradual as to be almost indistinguishable form constant percentage (ordinary exponential) growth. When we go back to historical and archaic population growth, we find oscillations in which power-law growth does describe long historical periods, and in each of these periods (which themselves get shorter and shorter), the trend terminates with a population crisis, after which population levels or declines or destabilizes, and then resumes an initially slow power-law rise once again. This pattern, for both world and regional populations, tends to repeat over and over again, in increasingly short time intervals.


            Skippy…ohhh…so games of confuse a cat (method of exchange preced more pressing matters), sharing would fix a lot of stuff, but its more important to be an individual. Humanity's tombstone "its mine, get your own bum!"

    2. Barbyrah

      Finally, FINALLY this is getting more play: Your “only alternative” isn’t just under the mattress…it’s also a CREDIT UNION.

      Not-for-profit cooperatives. Members are “owners.” Board of Directors are member volunteers. No outrageous “bonuses” for CEOs. Etc.

      I’ve been a member of credit unions for over 30 years. They are: superb.

      1. F. Beard

        Yes. Credit Unions are better but there is still the moral problem of some, the so-called “credit-worthy”, being allowed to steal purchasing power from everyone else.

        But yes, we should move our money to local institutions like credit unions. It’s not ideal but it’s a big start.

        If enough of us do it, then the big banks might soon agree that the entire population should be bailed out. When they do, let’s insist that savers be included too and that the bailout continue till all debt to the counterfeiters (the banks) be paid off.

  14. Linus Huber

    SCARE 20.12.2012
    (Stop Corruption and Repression Effective 20.12.2012)

    Banks were given a very important privilege to create more in the form of extending credit. This function requires diligence and careful consideration in regard to individual credit risks as well as to overall credit levels in the system. The financial crisis revealed that the banks were operating at too high a leverage and with too much risk. They were used to be saved by the Central Banks and certain that in times of difficulties the Central Banks were there to save them. They were like trained dogs and their master Greenspan or Bernanke would always be there to rescue them when unforeseen difficulties arose.
    That may be true but that does not absolve them from their obligation to monitor overall debt levels in the system as well as being diligent in evaluating the debtors ability to not only service a debt but to be able to repay it over time. The banks clearly failed in this function that is the core function of banking but focused mainly on their compensation packages. The way these bankers enriched themselves in the process of driving the financial system into a wall was appalling and the average income earner was never able to comprehend their schemes but preferred to simply ignore them. Of course, the bankers explained their outrages income levels with free market principles of supply and demand, where the best simply could be hired with those kinds of benefits only. In hindsight those superior managers seem to have missed their mark considerably. The most interesting aspect of all of this is the fact that, after we have been more than 3 years in this financial crisis, the bankers continue to loot the system as if nothing ever happened.
    True to form the Central Banks “saved” the financial system by saving those great financial institutions without whom the system would have collapsed, as was argued. Hardly were we out of the danger of collapse, the banks immediately went back to their old ways and were certain that this was a problem that would occur just once in a lifetime and now all was clear again. The real problem, however, had not been addressed but had simply been muddied.
    In actuality, the losses produced of extending unsustainable levels of credit by the banks have been transferred to the public. Different ways were chosen to achieve this task in the form of free money for the banks, injection of government funds into some institutions, increase of basic money supply and so on.
    The threat of system collapse would have been labelled blackmail if it would have occurred in another setting. However the bankers were able to influence the media, the legislators and regulators in their favour with all the financial resources available to them. Nobody was made to take any responsibility and no one was taken to account.
    This represents a serious violation of the spirit of the Rule of Law that is the basis of western society. It seems that now the new rule is Might is Right. This changes many parameters in the compass of the social system within the western world. No one can be sure on what level and when one will be subjected to the financial abuse of those elites. Presently, the people in charge are trying to enhance financial repression of which one form is to keep interest rates below the level of inflation which affects mainly those that lived within their means over the past many years; another clear violation of the spirit of the Rule of Law as it transfers losses from bad investments to the innocent and decent part of the population. In addition, the increased level of government debt puts in doubt all those benefits promised by governments the world over.
    It is interesting how the banks were able to confuse the public that they are unable to grasp the actual situation. But considering their great financial resources, it seems not that much of a miracle to influence the media and the legislator and having politicians do their bidding. The question is what the heck can WE, THE PEOPLE do about it.
    Usually, we could address such things on a political level as we are a democracy, right? But it seems that the system has been corrupted by all the money sloshing around and it is extremely difficult to find any electable person that will act against those powerful interests. In addition, it will take many years until sufficient numbers of persons with the new thinking and with integrity not to be corrupted by those lobbying efforts will be elected to office that will implement the changes needed. So, what should we do? Start a revolution?
    Well, the blackmail used by the banks may be the only way to address the injustices that have occurred over the past few years. They showed us how to leverage one’s limited resources to achieve one’s goal. Therefore the following proposal to start the movement “SCARE 20.12.2012” should be seen in this context. The idea is that if by that time (20.12.2012) some serious injustices have been removed from the system, people start to withdraw their money from all financial institutions driving them into default. And it might work, because those who hesitate to support this threat may be left with no money as the banks will have to close down before all has been paid out.
    Now, what demands are made if that scenario is to be avoided.

    1. Bankers and past Bankers (all those working in the financial industry that earned in excess of $500k plus annually for more than 2 years during the past 15 years and this without any downside risk i.e. risk of financial losses, except the possibility of losing their job) have to be made personally accountable for their past activities and be removed from any such position that might directly or indirectly have influence on the money creation and lending aspects of the economy (this includes regulating agencies and politics) before 20.12.2012.
    2. Present and past regulators have to be made personally accountable for their past activities and be removed from any such position that might directly or indirectly have influence on the money creation and lending aspects of the economy (this includes financial institutions and politics) before 20.12.2012.
    3. Politicians that accept any financial support from institutions that are involved in the money creation and lending aspects of the economy will have to face a jail term of no less than 2 years without the possibility of parole.

    When these 3 points are implemented before 20.12.2012, we the public will not destroy the financial system but support the way to find back to the RULE OF LAW and away from the idea of MIGHT IS RIGHT.

  15. Mentalic

    I am surprised that people have not started retaliating to this kind of police behavior.

    Seeing the number of cops that kept pouring in towards the end of the video, I was wondering if the number of protesters were more or the cops…

  16. patricia

    “We want to stand shoulder to shoulder with. We are with you. We admire you once more.”

    “…We choose to fight our imperfection and not permit further externalization.”

    Just when one might suspect that humans are too awful to continue, someone comes along offering undeserved grace and another states a matter-of-fact resolve to continue on a path to beauty.

    I’m deeply grateful to you. And Lambert, Matt, Yves, Glenn, Jane, and of course the Occupiers. And that’s a lot of people.

  17. mondo

    I don’t think the TBTF banks really care about small savings/checking accounts anyways. Since customers tend to use different banks for different banking services, they would rather have your credit card business instead.

  18. Psychoanalystus

    Kudos and praises to all OWS protesters. Keep up the good fight!

    Before I continue, please allow me to crank up the volume here, so my stupid French neighbors can hear The Internationale more clearly.

    Comrades, I too have been battling the forces of evil and darkness here in Europe. As you may recall, in my report of a few weeks ago I detailed how I closed my account with that criminal French bank commonly known as Societe Generale. That operation was a huge success.

    I am now pleased to report that last week I also closed my account with another too big to fail corrupt European bank, namely Raiffeisen Bank, from Austria. You should have seen the sadness and tears I left them in as I walked away with MY money.

    Over the summer I have performed similarly good work in the US, where I had closed my account with a large Chicago bank (also recipient of TARP funds). In America I now only bank with a small local bank. But I am thinking of opening a new account with Citibank just to get the satisfaction of closing it next day.

    So keep up the good fight, brothers and sisters. Wave those red flags, as they are sending chills down the black hearts of the banksters and genocidal military industrial war criminals that hijacked America and the world.

    And, one more thing. Keep laughing every time that sellout president, Obummer, or whatever his name is, rears his ugly head on the idiot tube. Keep laughing at the ridiculous caricature that he has become. He deserves all the contempt you can muster up. Remember his words: “Change we can believe in”, “the audacity of hope”, and all his other empty soundbites. Hold him captive to his own words. Do not allow the collective amnesia he is hoping for to settle in.

    Reclaim the country from the Koch brother murderers, or from that greedy senile Buffett and his ilk, and from annoying little chickenshits like Mark Zuckerberg, or the Crown family, those merchants of death that bankrolled Obummer’s last campaign. Reclaim America from these vampires.

    And, since corporations are now people, and since their behavior deserves the death penalty, I say let’s give them just that. Go and close your bank accounts you may still have with any of these massive zombie banks, just like I have already done. Stop buying any food or gasoline from large corporations. Screw Exxon, screw MonSatan, screw Kraft, screw Microsoft, Google, CNN, New York Times, Disney. Boycott them all. “Starve the beast[s]”, as their idol, Reagan, used to say.

    Starve the beasts!


    1. Capo Regime

      That is inspired! Great post Psychoanalystus! Wow! Indeed strave the beast and go local. I do think you are correct that beyond not granting them your custom withdrawing your funds or better opening an account and then closing it is fun and undermines them directly–for every $100 you take from them they lose the ability to lend $1,000.00!

      Another way to get em and also better your life–at grocery hop only the perimeter and avoid all the stuff in boxes, packers and tins in the middle. Greens, fruits and local meats baby…. Kills em……

      Starve them and withdraw funds.

    2. 2little2late

      Pardon my cheekiness here Psychoanalystus, but having been in the trenches since day one with the occupying forces, I can assure you that trotting around the globe in an effort at withdrawing monies from banks hither and yon isn’t exactly the problem shared by most in the park. One wonders, having identified so intently with the once working classes, have you also lost your temper and tossed your flute of Dom Perignon into the fireplace in disgust?

  19. Patrice

    Against the Manipulation of Populism by Elitism:

    “When I told one New York activist dressed up as a greedy billionaire that I’d seen similarly clad street thespians protesting the anti-union policies of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in Madison last March, he was quick to make a critical distinction between OWS and the Wisconsin rebellion. “The Wisconsin thing was shut down out of subordination to the Democratic Party and the union bosses,” he said. “This is different. It’s about the whole system, which is run by and for the rich whether they’ve got Republicans or Democrats out front.”

    I have had direct experience and contact with the movement in New York City, Chicago, and Iowa City, and I have yet to meet an occupier who doesn’t get it that Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats are front folks for the moneyed class.”

  20. Susan the other

    Just a word in favor of self sufficiency. If we are to change a corrupt and bloodthirsty system we need to be there for the long run. We need some logistics, military style. As everyone comes together for change the things we will need are food/water; shelter; education; medical – oh gosh! all those things we have been lobbying our congressassholes for for 3 decades! What a coincidence!

  21. Out of the Frying Pan

    Where are the prosecutions, Mr. Eric Holder?

    For 3 years I’ve been wondering,

    Where are the Wall Street prosecutions?

    Well, Mr. Attorney General? Where are they?

  22. ECON

    From Toronto, Occupy Bay Street is an ongoing success and intend to stay for long-run. The Citi utube definitely demonstrates how police, government and banks will be setting up for violence/intimidation to quash the movement of the 99%.

  23. Patrick Crawford

    I am an attorney (tax at that!) and I just found your website. Excellent! It seems to me that the police are on very shaky ground here. They at least have an obligation to investigate before arresting the people. CB cannot just lock these folks in there. The police are WAY out of line in the clips I’ve seen, legally speaking. Let’s support the lawyers defending and filing suits.

    1. LucyLulu

      I was thinking about the legality of this some more myself, with them locking those people in the bank. I’m a nurse who has worked on locked psychiatric units, in three different states. It was the same in each state, if we kept somebody on a locked unit against their will and without a court order, we could be charged with kidnapping. We certainly couldn’t tell their visitors we wouldn’t let them out, when they were ready to leave. By the same token, even if we had a court order for involuntary hospitalization, if a client escaped, we could only pursue them to the edge of our property. Once they stepped foot off hospital property, we could not bring them back without also being charged with kidnapping (only call police to pick up). The law is kinda funny when it comes to who can lock people in and where (thank God!). It seems to me that this would be a similar situation.

      1. PL

        The crazy part of falsely arresting these Citibank customers is that they weren’t stealing or giving the impression of stealing. Retailers will occasionally detain customers who appear to have stolen merchandise. When the retailer is incorrect, it may face a civil action for false arrest by the customer. In this matter, there’s no question the customers weren’t stealing, rather the reverse is true: the customers were attempting to retrieve what funds they already owned and had on deposit. Falsely arresting the customers under these perverse circumstances indicates how strongly Citibank’s staff, private security and the police overreacted .

  24. Glen

    Gee, anxiously awaiting Citibank’s offer of a free night on Riker’s Island to qualified groups trying to open OR CLOSE checking accounts.

    I’m sure it will be a big success for the bank!

  25. Nevada Nylene

    Organize into small groups. Then get to know other groups.

    Stock up on canned food-canned veggie chilli,
    soup, bottled juices, crackers and peanut butter. Don’t forget non-electric can openers. Get a big cast iron pot for making food and hot water over a wood fire.

    Stock up on bottles of drinking water and bleach. If you have an empty freezer fill it with bottles of 2/3 filled water. Bread freezes well.

    Start a collection of blankets, asprin, soap, Triple 3 antibodtic, TP, think what you need if there was suddenly no heat or lights.

    Stock up on lots of candles and matches.
    A dog can hear 150 times better than you, and they help keep you warm at night.
    Good time to adopt one.

    And get a paper journal and pens. Could be interesting times.

  26. LucyLulu

    Citibank statement:

    A large amount of protesters entered our branch at 555 La Guardia Place around 2:00 PM today. They were very disruptive and refused to leave after being repeatedly asked, causing our staff to call 911. The Police asked the branch staff to close the branch until the protesters could be removed. Only one person asked to close an account and was accommodated.

    To be clear: no one was arrested for closing an account; we didn’t lock people in our branch—the police decided to close the branch; and we didn’t ask for anyone to be arrested—that is a police decision.

  27. A Good Bankster

    I’ll mention this incident to Vikram next time I have lunch with him.

    Speaking of which, I’ve forgotten who I had lunch with earlier, and more importantly, where.

    Was it Russian model Sasha Volkova and Jimmy Choo at Sugiyama’s? Or Tamara Mellon and the British socialite Plum Sykes at Kurumazushi?


    I am the One Percent.

  28. pj

    Wouldn’t it be a kick if TPTB’s own citizen surveillance techniques were what ultimately brought them down?

    I’ve been offended by the spy cameras since they first started appearing, especially given the fact that these same cameras aren’t pointing at TPTB – like, ever.

    Unintended consequences, indeed.

  29. jim

    The bank also owes a safe work environment for it’s employees. You morons who think that a bunch of protestors can go around anywhere they want a disrupt business are sadly mistaken. If an employer feels his workers are being threatened by what as been described by the press as an “unruly” mob, they have every right in the world to have them arrested. Try doing it in any mall across America and see what chaos they will bring down upon you. Act like adults, be treated like adults. Act like irresponsible adults, be dealt with by responsible adults.

  30. Matt

    if you watch the full videos, these people were crazy disruptive in the bank…were asked to leave, had the opportunity too and refused..thus trespassing. All the folks yelling “shame”…well shame on you for lying and misleading just as badly as the banks (which I do hate) do.

    These people just wanted to grandstand…it is completely false to say “arrested for closing accounts”. Perhaps they can’t get jobs because the interviewer could sense their lack of common sense.

    We live in a country were you CAN protest…there are just guidelines to the logistics meant to keep your protest from infringing on your fellow citizens rights.

  31. Fuck the Police !!!



    I AM GOING TO SUE BOTH OF YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    FUCK THE POLICE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Jose

    FUCK CITIBANK!! Those ASSHOLES got a bail out, and then they abuse their customers!!

    My senator and congressman (both democrats, btw) could’ve cared less when I told them my story: I have a 750 credit score, good job, and pay my bills. I’ve not been late on any Citi payments in over 5 (maybe 6) years! In one fell swoop, the raised my interest from 9.9% to 29.99%. I thought elected DEMOCRAT officials supposedly look out after the little guy! All I got was a form letter saying how they were watching financial legislation.

    Calls to these greedy bastards went no where. After a week, I got ahold of some VP bimbo who said that I wasn’t using my card enough over the last 8 years. I told her that I “was going to transfer the full balance and that Citi would get NO interest from my, how do you like that?” Bitch was silent. FUCK THEM! Now that I have a 0 balance, I charge gas, meals, etc each month, and pay off the entire balance each month — I ride for free on those bitches now!

Comments are closed.