Today We Launch the Injustice Boycott in Standing Rock, San Francisco, and New York City
Shaun King
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Keeping it Simple

Simple Bank, BBVA, DAPL, and Sean King’s Injustice Boycott

My participation in the Injustice Boycott has been cautiously supportive. Its secrecy until today has given me pause, though a recent Facebook Live video from Sean last night helped explain his insistence on obfuscating the boycott’s details while recruiting its participants.

That said, I have appreciated the boycott’s fairness and specificity. It does not seek to label institutions as enemies. It aims to change them them, to make them more friendly, and it aims to do that through economic, political, and creative force.

Today, the Dakota Access Pipeline was marked the Boycott’s top priority, specifically its defunding. Customers who hold assets at banks which financially support Dakota Access are encouraged to publically divest, making clear to the bank why they are doing so, and continuing to do so until the institution itself divests from DAPL. The collective which has done the most research and organization in this regard seems to be DefundDAPL, which lists BBVA Securities as a “direct” funder of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

I found a small thread within a subreddit for Simple users (/r/SimpleBanking) built around a user who brought up the BBVA concern about a fortnight ago, and mentioned it was why he was choosing to close his account. I left my thoughts, which is where this post began. Much of it is reproduced—lightly edited, with some new findings—in the next three ¶s.

I do believe we Simple customers looking into divestment are in a bit of a unique situation, given how we bank with much larger conglomerate via a much smaller bank which most of us authentically love and appreciate, but which is now owned by BBVA. There’s also the complication of how Simple accounts are split between Bancorp and BBVA, mine being a Bancorp holdover from the early days.

Bancorp is not itself listed as a funder of DAPL, but it is the parent company of U.S. Bank, which is. BBVA Securities Securities is a “direct” funder of DAPL. If someone could help me understand the hierarchy/relationship between BBVA Securities and BBVA Compass (which now owns Simple), that may add another layer to the complications. I can’t quite tell if they’re synonymous, or two equilateral divisions of the same company.

I believe Simple is doing a net good thing to banking, and to divest as a statement against their parent company would be doing unnecessary harm to Simple, especially in my personal situation with my money being held by Bancorp. I think the strongest thing I can do right now is talk to Simple, and let their team know how I’m feeling. I don’t hold Simple responsible for BBVA, but I do hold them accountable. I believe Simple is a gracious enough company that it might listen to its customers, and might have some serious sway with BBVA. I think I’ll call customer support over the coming days, and see what sort of response I get.

Some of this is shifting a bit in my mind. Simple has just begun the process of switching Bancorp customers over to BBVA. I suspect I’m early in line because I signed up for a beta joint account waitlist, which requires transitioning to a BBVA account. Knowing that they are pushing to switch all customers to a new bank may give us more of an opportunity to make clear why we do not, as it stands, want to be switched. I’m not sure if the process requires any customer input or approval which could be withheld.

I would sincerely appreciate any other thoughts, clarifications, and corrections. I’m here to learn and act informedly.

This is tough. Simple, we should talk.