Why and How to Choose a Locally-Owned Bank or Credit Union
Note: The term CFI (community financial institution) is used throughout this page to include both community banks and credit unions.
Moving your money to a locally-owned bank or credit union is rarely a sacrifice. In fact, most people (and businesses) will save money by going local! Shifting personal, business and institutional bank accounts (including your town’s or city’s) to local CFIs is one key way to:
- Build wealth locally instead of exporting it to Wall St.
- Expand opportunities for local entrepreneurs and create more local jobs (see “Reason #2” graph below)
- Keep decision-making power in your community. When absentee-owned corporations have your money, they wield unaccountable power over you and your community.
Also, if you have any take out loans or credit cards, consider that using a local CFI is equally important for these transactions. In addition to accepting deposits, your community banks and credit unions are must be able to loan out those funds to sustain its services! And just like bank accounts, you’ll often find CFIs offer better loan and credit card terms! To learn more about starting local campaigns to help shift banks accounts of other individuals, businesses and institutions, see Partnering With Community Banks and Credit Unions.
Community Banking Advocates and Tools
Bank Local is an online database lets you easily look up the banks with branches in your area and see their performance on values such as local ownership, community reinvestment, small business support and more.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) provides a simple online tool to learn the market share of banks in your area. This allows you to track shifts in your area over time, which will yield valuable data for “Move Your Money” campaigns.
Charts and graphs on the state of the banking industry and benefits of banking locally from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.