Why should you move your money?
Moving your money out of the big Wall Street banks to small community banks and credit unions is a great idea for a number of reasons: you will get better rates and fewer fees, your community banker will learn your name and provide you with more personal service, and you will be keeping money in your local community which increases economic development and eventually, creates more jobs. Yet the most important reason to move your money is to make your voice heard, to stand strong and no longer help a banking system that has run amok
INVEST IN MAIN STREET, NOT WALL STREET
When you keep your money in a local financial institution, that money in turn is reinvested in local businesses, which is important for building a stable economy and encouraging local growth. Put your money in the big Wall Street banks however, and they will use your deposits to make risky investments, gambling at the expense of the economy as a whole.
END TOO BIG TO FAIL
The big banks on Wall Street gambled with our money, then demanded a bailout of $700 billion. The size of these Wall Street “Banksters” threatens our economic system, yet their size has only increased since we bailed them out. According to FDIC data, the largest 5 banks held 13% of US deposits in 1994, today they hold 38%. If the government wont step in and break them up, then we must move our money ourselves and end ”Too Big To Fail” once and for all.
FEWER FEES, MORE SAVINGS
Worried about ATM fees? You shouldn’t be. More and more community banks and credit unions offer ATM surcharge-free networks, providing you with even more access to ATMs nationwide. Community banks and credit unions also charge on average less in fees, and often pay you higher interest on your accounts than big banks. The numbers are clear: the bigger the bank, the higher the fees.
GET MORE PERSONAL SERVICE
According to JD Power and Associates, small banks have consistently rated higher in overall customer satisfaction than their Wall Street counterparts and the gap has only widened in the last few years. Customers of community banks and credit unions talk to actual people when they call, instead of robotic phone-trees. Tellers often know them by name and treat their customers like family.
LEND A HAND TO LOCAL BUSINESSES
Smaller banks do disproportionately more small business lending than the big banks. Small businesses, in turn, are the main engine of job growth, accounting for 65% of new jobs. Banking locally is a great way to support independent businesses and create more jobs in your home town.
7 Simple Steps To Move Your Checking Account
1. Find a Credit Union or Community Bank
There are several online tools to help locate Credit Unions and Community Banks in your area. Use the links provided here, Google them or talk to friends and family about the institutions that they use. If you have advice on local credit unions or banks let us know in the comments.
2. Open Your New Account
In most cases, you should be able open a checking account with an initial deposit of $25 to $100. At a credit union, you’ll also become a member and co-owner at the same time.
3. Order New Checks and an ATM/Debit Card
These typically arrive within 1 to 2 weeks. You should also consider applying for a credit card from your new local bank or credit union at the same time.
4. Ask Your Employer to Reroute Your Direct Deposit
When you open your new account, ask the bank or credit union for a direct deposit authorization form that includes your new account information. Give this form to your employer and anyone else who makes direct deposits to your account. It may take one or more pay cycles for the change to be made, so keep your old checking account open and watch for the switch.
5. Contact Companies that Direct-Debit Your Account
Using your last bank statement, make a list of any businesses that you’ve authorized to directly debit your account. Ask your new bank or credit union for an automatic payments authorization form that includes your new account information. Send this to the businesses on your list.
6. Set-up Online Bill Paying for Your New Account
If you like to pay bills online, set up bill payment information for your new account. Also, stop any automatic, recurring payments you have established through your old account.
7. Close Your Old Account
Once you have started receiving direct deposits into your new account and are sure that there are no outstanding checks or automatic debits that need to clear, close your old account. Warning: do not just withdraw the last dollar and assume the account will fade away on its own. Your old big bank may start charging you fees for having an empty or inactive checking account. Instead, follow the bank’s procedure for closing out the account.
Enjoy your new local banking relationship!
This checklist was produced by the New Rules Project’s Community Banking Initiative. Visit newrules.org for articles, graphs, studies, and more.
Please use the comments section to provide feedback on local banks and credit unions!