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Moving Your Money

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Source: Local Futures

One of the easiest steps you can take to help your local economy is to move your bank account from a large national bank to a community financial institution: a local bank or credit union focused specifically on supporting local businesses and citizens. The collective impact of millions of people transferring assets from multinational to local institutions would significantly shift the dynamic of the global financial system.

Take action

  • Find a credit union near you with the World Council of Credit Unions’ map Our Global Networks. We encourage you to choose smaller, locally based and rooted credit unions if possible.
  • Learn more about why and how to move your money with Green America’s Community Investing Guide (US).
  • Organize a local move-your-money campaign with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s resource list Tools for Starting a Local Move Your Money Campaign.
  • Find a community bank near you with the directories on Find a Better Bank (US) and the Community Savings Bank Association (UK).
  • Compare banks and credit unions in your area based on a number of local impact metrics with Banklocal.info (US).
  • Find a bank that offers environmentally and socially-responsible services through the Global Alliance for Banking on Values’ map Find Members. Note: some of the member banks are national in scope.

Get inspired

  • Triodos Bank in the UK focuses on financing social, cultural, and environmental initiatives such as organic farming, childcare facilities, small businesses, and renewable energy projects.
  • The Ecology Building Society in the UK offers savings accounts and mortgages for co-housing, renovations, and other sustainable construction projects.
  • Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union is the only financial institution in the US that focuses its loans on growing a healthy local food system.
  • The Clean Energy Federal Credit Union in the US state of Colorado focuses on financing small-scale renewable energy projects.

Joining with others to provide capital for new or established local businesses is a great way to meet entrepreneurs in your community, strengthen relationships among friends, and bring more vitality to your local economy.

Take action

  • How to Invest Local by Locavesting (US) offers extended guidance on a dozen models for local investment groups. Most of these are applicable worldwide.
  • Join or start a Slow Money group. These groups provide interest-free loans to local food and farming enterprises. Most existing groups are in the US, but there are also chapters in Canada, Australia and France. Find a group near you, or start one of your own.

Get inspired

  • Through their Local Investing Opportunities Network, residents of Port Townsend (Washington state, US) have provided more than $7 million to local businesses through a peer-to-peer lending program mediated by the town government.
  • The US state of Vermont is home to at least two innovative investment clubs. The White River Investment Club provides financing to small businesses that contribute to a stronger local economy, while the Vermont Solidarity Investing Club invests only in cooperative businesses.
  • The members of FarmWorks, in Nova Scotia, Canada, annually purchase shares in a diverse portfolio of local food and farming businesses, bringing almost CAD$3 million to 95 local enterprises.
  • Slow Money chapters worldwide have shifted $79 million towards food and farming enterprises since 2010.

 

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