The California County That's Made a Bold Move to Cut the Big Banks Out of Its Economy

Wall Street's role in our economy has come under intense scrutiny since the financial crisis, with many Americans believing that the industry has far too much influence over both our politics and our economy.

Ryan Coonerty, the Supervisor of the Third District of Santa Cruz County, wrote to the rest of his fellow Supervisors in June, saying that the county should stop doing business with five different "Too Big To Fail" mega-banks, arguing that their criminal behavior should not be rewarded. Here's a snippet of his letter:

There seems to be no limit to the greed in some our nation’s largest banks. I believe it is critical that the County only work with the most trustworthy institutions as we invest and protect the public’s tax dollars. Santa Cruz County should not be involved with those who rigged the world’s biggest financial markets.

It is important that we send a message that if you want to do business with the County, you need to play by the rules. Therefore I recommend that the Board direct that the County’s investment policy be modified to reflect that the County of Santa Cruz will not do new business with these felonious financial institutions for a period of five years and further that the County unwind existing relationships with these five banks to the greatest extent feasible.

In response, Coonerty's colleagues voted to support his proposal, agreeing to ban all business for five years with the following banks: Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, and UBS.

Santa Cruz County has just laid out a new way for American localities to challenge the hold Wall Street has over our country. Will others follow?

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