One of the infuriating things about the collapse of Big Shitpile is that there hasn’t seemed to be much you or I can do about it (and that wanker Bernanke is useless). Until now. Move Your Money has developed a nice online tool to find local banks and credit unions.
Recently, after using their tool, I moved much of my money to a local bank, Wainwright Bank. When I told them that I wanted to open a savings account, they started to tell me about ten dollar minimum deposits, as part of Wainwright’s mission is to serve who often don’t have access to banking services. Maybe it just was the amount I deposited, which was, well, more than ten dollars, but I received a very nice personal letter from the person who opened the account for me:
Dear [Mike the Mad Biologist]
It was a pleasure to help you today. I know you have many other options for your financial needs so I want to thank you again for choosing Wainwright Bank.
Unlike nearly any other bank, Wainwright has over two decades of proven commitment to supporting social justice issues including the financing of projects such as affordable housing, food banks, homeless shelters, HIV/AIDS services, environmental protection, breast cancer research, inner-city schools and more.
Wainwright has provided over $700 million in these types of loans, and currently over 50% of our commercial loan portfolio is dedicated to them. Your deposits help finance these loans.
The bank has received much recognition for its commitment including being named one of the country’s Top 10 Best “Green” Banking Firms by the Social Investment Forum and one of the Top 20 Sustainable Stocks worldwide by SustainableBusiness.com
In her multi-million selling book, Megatrends 2010, Patricia Aburdene states, “Wainwright’s DNA is so deeply encoded with the commitment to social justice, you almost forget it’s a bank.”
Even if your local bank or credit union doesn’t have this sort of mission, you should still consider moving your money to a credit union or community bank. While the revenge factor is nice (why give those big bankster assholes your money), there are legitimate benefits to do this. First, the banks listed at Move Your Money are not zombie banks (otherwise, they wouldn’t be listed): they’ll actually be lending your money, which helps everyone. Second, these banks tend to lend money locally, so your deposits are helping local businesses and homeowners–which also helps you directly. Given leverage requirements, in many places, particularly after the collapse of Big Shitpile, moving $20,000 into a local bank in many places means you just financed someone’s home or a small business.
Mind you, I’m not a ‘purist’ about this. I’ve kept a checking account at Major Bank. The national ATM access is useful, and I have payroll deposit set up there. But there’s no reason why I should keep much of my money there–your local bank is insured by FDIC every bit as much as the major banks.
You should really think about moving your money.
Update: Small banks have better fees too (thanks to Min and Comrade PhysioProf).