We've declared February Love Your Local Bank Month to encourage individuals and business owners to move their money out of the big banks and into local credit unions and banks. Why is this an important issue? As Local First Arizona Director Kimber Lanning says in a recent article in Green Living Magazine, "Arizonans have deposited 96 percent of their money into out-of-state banks. Of that money, about 75 percent ($65.5 billion) is in three big banks that have no local decision-making regarding lending."
What does this mean? It means that local and independent businesses aren't getting the loans they need to expand or launch their businesses, stifling economic development and halting job creation. According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, "Although small and mid-sized banks control less than one-quarter of all bank assets, they account for more than half of all small business lending."
Therefore, by moving our money into local banks and credit unions, we're giving them more capital to support our local business community! We're taking control of our own local economy!
Many might seem intimidated by the idea of moving their money or switching banks, but it's really not that complicated. Here's how to make the switch in three easy steps:
Step 1: Define Your Needs & Do Your Research
There is actually quite a selection of local banks and credit unions in Arizona, all offering different services. Determine what your banking needs are (Personal banking or business banking? Investing or loans?), and do your research to find a few options that might be the best fit for you. Local First Arizona's directory has a great selection of local banks and credit unions to choose from.
Step 2: Contact & Meet with a Representative
Image via Alliance Bank of Arizona
Once you've honed in on the banks or credit unions you think will be the best fit for your banking needs, contact them to set up a meeting with a representative. A face-to-face conversation is really the best way to determine what will ultimately be the right decision for you.
If you are a business owner and would like to skip right to Step 2, you can come to our Speed Dating event with Local Banks & Credit Unions on February 18! You'll have the unique opportunity to meet with 8 different local banks and credit unions all in one room. Click here for more information.
Step 3: Make a Decision & Move Your Money!
Image via Green Living Magazine
After meeting with all the potential banks or credit unions, now it's time to make a decision on where to put your money. Contact that bank or credit union to let them know that you've decided to move your money, and they'll let you know the next steps to complete the switch.
See, does that really sound that hard? Now go get started with your research to find the best fit for you to make the switch!