Over 4 million people moved their money from Wall Street Banks in 2010, according to Sara Ackerman, project coordinator for Move Your Money.
I bought into the "Move Your Money" movement the day Arianna Huffington and some associates founded the concept. I had already been doing it for years.
My money is in non-Wall Street banks that have branches, or are headquartered, in my home city of Richmond, Kentucky.
Long ago, I learned the importance of having a personal relationship with my banker. I don't want to call an 800 number and talk to a "customer service" representative in India.
I want my money to circulate back into the community where I live. I don't want it being shipped off to fund "funny money" games on Wall Street. And I really don't want it spent on multi-million dollar bonuses.
A familiar brand name is why some people remain with the Wall Street banks. You see celebrities, such as Alec Baldwin, touting Wall Street banks in countless commercials. Peoplehave a comfort level with products they recognize.
Capital One got $3.56 billion in bailout money from taxpayers. It used some of that money to hire Baldwin, an actor and well-known liberal, to encourage us to run up big debts on a credit card.
I don't want bailout banks to be "What's in my wallet."
It took me a while to find the perfect role model of who we should be "moving our money" to.
Pete Mahurin of Bowling Green Kentucky.
Mahurin is the Executive Vice-President of Hilliard Lyons, a regional investment firm. He has been one of its top brokers for many years. He owns, or is a board member on, several Kentucky banks, located in Kentucky places such as Cecilia, Albany and Mayfield. He and his wife, Dixie, have completed a million dollar gift to their alma mater, Western Kentucky University, and fund many other charities.
He started life in Short Creek, Kentucky with hopes, dreams and an incredible work ethic. "I grew up on a little scrub farm," said Mahurin. "My brother thought we were broke. I just thought we were temporarily out of money."
Over seventy years later, he has made his fortune but still maintains his enthusiasm for high achievement and hard work.
He is an unabashed Democrat, living in a conservative city that serves as the home of Tea Party icon, Rand Paul.
There is a perception that Democrats are rare in the financial world. But Pete notes that "The people who own companies tend to be Democrats but the people that do the work for them tend to be Republicans."
There are Wall Street types, like Lloyd Blankfein at Goldman Sachs, who have bios similar to Mahurin's. They grew up poor, became rich and give money to Democrats.
It's easy to see how the Wall Street types screwed-up. They all went to the same Ivy League schools, lived in the same suburbs, talked to the same people and developed a lifestyle that never allowed them to interact with ordinary people.
Mahurin is all about ordinary people. He grew up on Short Creek in Grayson County Kentucky, and then graduated with a degree in Physics from nearby Western Kentucky University. He taught high school physics before joining the investment world, and has spent most of his life in Bowling Green.
Legendary Kentucky journalist Al Smith noted that Mahurin is "not a stereotypical slick salesman then, nor now. He is slow talking, behind a toothy smile, and continues to drive a beat up car."
Both wealthy and working class Americans seek Pete's advice. One on the wealthy side is Lexington Kentucky's Mayor, Jim Gray, who asked Mahurin to sit on the board of the successful Gray Construction Company.
Gray said that Pete "represents patience to the point of painfulness. After he talks, often everyone will nod quietly in agreement, as if divine wisdom has been spoken." Which it often has.
I don't expect divine wisdom from my banker but I would like some Main Street wisdom and common sense.
When you compare the values, insights and world view of Pete Mahurin to the greed and hubris that has plagued Wall Street for decades, there is only one conclusion:
Pete Mahurin is the kind of person I want to 'move my money" to.