Occupy Wall Street Donation woes provide Ironic Lesson in Banking

Occupy Wall Street Donation woes provide Ironic Lesson in Banking

 Having already secured more than 8,000 different sources of Occupy Wall Street donations, the anti-corporate greed movement has raised roughly $500,000 in New York and about $20,000 in other cities.

According to Ben Berkowitz and Chris Francescani of Reuters, $55,000 has been spent as of last week Friday, “including $22,000 for food, medical care and laundry and $20,000 on communications systems.”

Occupy Wall Street Donation woes provide Ironic Lesson in Banking

Stockpile of Occupy Wall Street supplies, purchased with donation funds (Associated Press Photo)

However, as time passes and the rate of donations has swelled, Occupy Wall Street donation organizers are  now receiving a rather ironic lesson in banking: how to arrange and secure an e-bank transaction.

 Occupy Wall Street leaders initially used the online service of  Authorize.net (an online payment gateway for online payments via credit card and e-check) to procure online credit card donations (which have averaged less than $50 each). Occupy Wall Street leaders then hired the financial arm of the Alliance for Global Justice (AFGJ) to process donations,  keep the movement’s “books”, and tax returns. In return for its services AFGJ receives 7% of Occupy Wall Street donations.

 After having first blamed Authorize.net for rejecting $144,000 in donations, and freezing another $40,000 (citing possible political motivations), AFGJ personel later realized that these account issues were actually a result of their own fiscal ignorance and naiveté.

Occupy Wall Street Donation woes provide Ironic Lesson in Banking

Occupy Wall Street Food Lines have attracted protesters and non-affiliated homeless alike (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

 Generally, AFGJ has only had e-Onlinedata (a credit card processing service) process about a dozen donations per week into their ‘authorize.net account. Ergo, when the volume of per week donations soared to 400 per week, e-Onlinedata’s system red flags automatically went up . These system red flags caused the service to automatically freeze and reject all subsequent incoming donations.

 In order to avoid this system process, all that would have been required was for an AFGJ representative to alert e-Onlinedata of the expected volume increase. This would literally be a no brainer for any veteran of even simple commercial banking. In fact, anyone who regularly travels, especially out of the country, knows to notify their bank of irregular but expected financial transaction.

 In speaking to ABC’s Alyssa Newcomb, Chuck Kaufman, a national coordinator at AFGJ admitted that ““[AFGJ] just didn’t understand the banking architecture. We’ve never done anything on this scale before. I guess we should have communicated this to E-Onlinedata in the beginning.”

Mr. Kaufman and Occupy Wall Street, take this advice: Sometimes the best way to beat an opponent is to use a play or two from their playbook. This may mean calling up a couple of those much-loathed bankers or accountants and ask for some general e-banking tips.


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