This April, celebrate Move Your Money Month.

What’s Move Your Money Month?  It’s a time to inspire you to move your money closer to home — by banking with a community bank or credit union and investing in locally owned businesses in your region.  Move Your Money Month is part of the Shop Indie Local movement, urging individuals to boost the ripple effect of economic and community benefits we receive when we spend and invest our dollars at locally owned businesses.

Move Your Money: Bank Local

When you move your money to a community bank or credit union in your region, more of your dollars recirculate throughout your local economy — building more local jobs and prosperity.

To back up a bit, what’s the difference between traditional banks, community banks, and credit unions? Traditional banks, publicly owned by stockholders, exist to provide a return on investment to their owners. Typically, these owners do not live where the bank does business. Community banks are privately owned and not publicly traded. These banks usually serve a specific geographical region.  A credit union is a cooperative, meaning its members own it — the people who use its services and live or work locally.

“The fortunes of local banks and credit unions are intimately tied to the fortunes of their local communities. The more the community prospers, the more the local bank benefits,” said Stacy Mitchell from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “Big banks, in contrast, are not tethered to the places where they operate. Indeed, they often use a community’s deposits to make investments in other regions or on Wall Street.”

Banking with a community bank or credit union often means getting the same services at lower fees than larger banks. Yup, more value for you and your community.  “Average fees at small banks and credit unions are substantially lower than at big banks,” added Stacy. “Studies show that small financial institutions also offer, on average, better interest rates on savings and better terms on credit cards and other loans.”

Move Your Money closer to home and closer to your heart by choosing a bank more in line with your values. Who do you bank with now?  Search for them at mightydeposits.com and find out what your bank does with your money.  Discover how many dollars your bank invests in your community.

“The primary activity of almost all small banks and credit unions is to turn deposits into loans and other productive investments,” shared Stacy.  “Meanwhile, big banks devote a sizeable share of their resources to speculative trading and other Wall Street bets that may generate big profits for the bank but provide little economic or social value for the rest of us and can put the entire financial system at risk if they go bad.”

Learn more about community banking at ilsr.org/banking.

Top 5 Reasons to Choose a Community Bank or Credit Union

Move Your Money: Invest Local

In addition to moving your money to a community bank or credit union, we encourage you to invest in locally owned businesses. Why? Independent businesses rooted in their community recirculate more money the local economy compared to national chain stores. If we invested more capital in locally owned businesses, we’d see a return on investment that included more jobs and community prosperity.

“Americans now have $56 trillion in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pension funds, and insurance funds—nearly all of it invested in global corporations,” said Michael Shuman, author and local economist.  “If you and your neighbors could shift even a small amount of that capital from Wall Street to Main Street, your local economy could flourish.”

Ready to learn more?  Sign up for The Main Street Journal, published by Michael Shuman, highlighting local investing news and events.

Invest in Our Planet

We’ll also celebrate Earth Day in April.  “Invest in Our Planet,” this year’s theme, connects perfectly with Move Your Money Month.  Find ways to share your time, talents, and treasures with our planet by investing in locally owned businesses, sustainable agriculture, alternative transportation, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and equity.

Check out how our friends at Vital Communities connect with the Invest in Our Planet Earth Month theme.

Move Your Money: Bank Local, Invest Local for your community — and our planet — today!

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