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Consider Moving Your Money to Local Banks

This past weekend my wife and I went home to New York to visit my parents and my visiting relatives for the holidays. My parents recently moved within spitting distance of Port Jefferson [3], a cute little “village” that features a ferry and lots of restaurants and small boutique shops. My parents have been saying that the recession has really hurt the area and it’s most visible in the shops. Small shops have gone out of business and parking was now free, when before non-residents would have to pay.

On our walk we stopped by Boardwalk Games [4], a little board game store on the corner of Main Street and W. Broadway (their website says differently but I swore the store was on that corner). Anyway, we walked inside, talked to the couple who owned the store and walked out with a copy of Dominion [5], a card-based game that won some game award this year. We paid more for the game than we would’ve online but since the owners were so nice and friendly and the economy being so weak, it was good to put some of our money back into the local economy.

So what does this have to do with banks? I was chatting with Matt from Steadfast Finances [6] when he accidentally sent me the link to the video. It talks about how if you are truly furious with how the “to big to fail” banks have been acting, vote with your wallet. Move your money to a community bank.

I don’t like how the video demonized the larger banks but I do like the message. If you don’t like how a store is behaving, boycott it. Plenty of people avoid Wal-Mart because they don’t like their business practices. If you don’t like how a bank or credit card company is treating you, take your business elsewhere. Don’t complain, don’t rant, don’t shout into the heavens… because they don’t care. If your money is still in your account there, they won’t listen to you because they already have what they want – your $$$.

I also like the message about supporting community businesses. For many years I’ve always advocated going with the highest (or lowest, depending on what you’re looking for) interest rate whether it’s a local or national bank. Now, with the spreads getting smaller (because national banks can’t rely on selling exotic financial instruments to make more money), it makes more sense to keep the money local.

As the old adage goes – think globally, act locally [7].