Jan 252010


New Mexico state representative Brian Egolf has introduced a bill to move the state’s money out of Bank of America and into banks and credit unions chartered in New Mexico.

“I saw the Move Your Money video the day it came out and thought it made a lot of sense,” Egolf told HuffPost.

So the Santa Fe Democrat wants to move as much money as he possibly can — that would be $1.4 billion.

Egolf’s bill would direct the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration to “give a preference to a community bank to act as the fiscal agent of the general fund operating cash depository account.”

Egolf said the account, which is essentially the state’s checking account, holds $1.4 billion and is managed by Bank of America. Egolf’s bill directs state officials to study the feasibility of dividing up the account and distributing it between community banks and credit unions throughout the state. He said he discussed the measure with Gov. Bill Richardson (D) for an hour on Thursday, and that the governor supported the measure.

Egolf said moving state funds into local banks or credit unions would benefit the New Mexico economy by freeing up local credit. “The potential size and impact of moving this money is monumental. The biggest bank in the state right now has $2 billion in assets.”

He added that he hasn’t heard any opposition to his proposal from any of his colleagues in either party in the New Mexico legislature and expects the measure to be taken up in the next three weeks. His goal is to move the money by the end of the year.

“The only concern I’ve heard really is, ‘How soon can we do it?'” he said. “I’m not getting any defense of the big banks. There’s a huge appeal to keeping our money local. The income Bank of America earns from managing this money goes straight to New York.”

Bank of America doesn’t seem very intimidated by the bill.

“We are pleased to have the State of New Mexico as a client and look forward to continuing that relationship,” said a bank spokesman in an email.

Egolf said he was in the process of moving his own money to the Los Alamos National Bank.

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