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Wish Your Bank Was More Like Mint? Check Out Simple

Simple provides banking services and robust digital data tracking for people who are into that sort of thing.

There's no debating the value of personal finance management sites like Mint—for people who want to keep track of their finances digitally, learn more about their spending habits (and correct them) and plan for the future, such services are a true boon.

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Branchless Banks: Financial Innovation that Actually Helps the Poor

A crop of small tech companies are bridging the gap between rich banks and poor customers in Mexico.


The easy money for big banks is in thinking big: as in big loans and big investments. That usually means finding big rich customers. But add up a load of little guys, and that can be big money too, especially in a place like Mexico where about three in four adults still don't have a formal bank account.

That promise of potential profit is why Mexican banks are setting a global example in thinking small. First though, those poor customers have to want to deal with a bank. That means reinventing retail banking because it's not working well for the working poor right now.

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To Save Post Offices, Turn Them Into Public Banks

The United States Postal Service is having trouble staying in business. Why not turn post offices into a public option for banking?


I didn’t get any mail today, or the day before. I’m not the only one lacking in pen pals: From 2006 to 2010, mail volume declined by 20 percent, and it’s going to keep dropping. We’re doing a lot more of our correspondence online these days, and that decline in business is putting the U.S. Postal Service—a government enterprise that would rank 29th on the Fortune 500 if it were a business—in an increasingly precarious spot, forcing us to figure out how to keep mail service solvent.

To start eliminating the USPS’s billion dollar deficits, most plans focus on cuts: ending Saturday delivery, cutting more jobs, and renegotiating employee contracts to cut wages and benefits. Some of that is probably necessary, or will be, as physical mail continues its decline, but this isn’t the economic time to cut tens of thousands of jobs. Instead, why not look at this from a business perspective and find a new way to make money? Let's keep the Postal Service alive by having it offer a public option for banking.

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How North Dakota Is Leading the Way in the Fight Against Wall Street

The Roughrider State is leading a populist charge against the stranglehold of megabanks.


In my interview with economist and scholar Umair Haque last week, Haque said one of the ways Americans could take back power from Wall Street is by divesting from megabanks and putting their money into smaller community banks and credit unions. As it turns out, North Dakota beat us to the punch.

Since 1919, North Dakota has been the only state in America with a publicly owned bank. Appropriately called the Bank of North Dakota (BND), the institution was established to "promote agriculture, commerce, and industry" and to "be helpful to and assist in the development of ... financial institutions ... within the State."

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Q&A: Umair Haque on How to Beat Wall Street Once and for All

A conversation with economist Umair Haque about the "too big to fail" myth and how Americans can force the megabanks to change.


As director of the Havas Media Lab and a regular contributor the Harvard Business Review, author Umair Haque has long been one of GOOD's favorite scholars. Prompted by his tweets lightly mocking the U.K.'s recent anti-austerity protests, during which people attacked banks for their shockingly low tax expenditures, we reached out to Haque to talk about the demonstrations and how they could have been better. His answers were more revolutionary than any kid throwing a rock through the window of a Barclays.

For instance, says Haque, if they wanted to, a group of concerned citizens could divest from big banks en masse and collapse them (an organization called Move Your Money is already advocating just that). He argues that contrary to what most of us may feel in the wake of the financial crisis, customers are far more powerful than banks. And unless Americans learn that lesson quickly, he says, they can "kiss the future goodbye."

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