4 Easy Steps to Move Your Money to a Values-based, Local Bank
Want to move your money away from banks like Wells Fargo, that fund fossil fuel infrastructure and use it to support a beautiful, thriving, inclusive world? Put your deposits in a bank that reflects, supports, and furthers your values!
Here are the 4 major steps to responsibly move your money:
- Open an account at a community bank that shares your values! See below for Washington State options.
- Order your new checks and debit card.
- Move your automatic deposits and payments to your new bank. These may include your direct deposit with your employer, your direct debits if you have automatic payments, and any recurring online payments (bills, services, charities, etc.). Contact each and change them from your old bank account to your new one. Here’s a great checklist that you can use to track your direct deposits and debits.
- Close your Mega-Bank account – and tell your bank why you made the switch! Here’s a letter you can edit and print out to share with your bank, explaining why you closed your account.
Also, see this great infographic from Green America for more detail on how to responsibly close your account.
Are you an organization, nonprofit, church, or business that is interested in moving your money from Wells Fargo? Please email Alec for information on how you can increase the impact of the organization’s decision to move its money to a values-based local bank.
How to pick a values-based, local bank*
Banking locally is great for a lot of practical reasons – smaller banks usually have lower fees, and they’re safer because they aren’t gambling with the stock market, or on big investment projects like DAPL. But banking locally is also great because it increases the control and ownership that your community has over its assets – which means that you’re investing in institutions that share a commitment to your community. Read more about why banking locally is a great idea here.
So what are some options for banking locally in Washington State?
Credit unions are member-owned, nonprofit financial institutions that provide a wide array of financial services and generally invest in local communities. Find a Washington State credit union near you at mycreditunion.gov
Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI)
Community development financial institutions are private financial institutions that are primarily dedicated to providing loans to local, low-income, and underserved communities. Here is a list of 26 CDFIs in Washington State.
More tools for finding your new bank or credit union:
*Some of this information has been pulled from YES Magazine’s recent article, “Is Your Bank Funding DAPL? Here’s How to Find One That Isn’t” as well as from Beneficial State Bank’s Move Your Money Toolkit.
Frequently Asked Questions
(From Green America’s Break up with your Bank infographic)
Q: Are accounts at these smaller banks and credit unions safe?
A: Yes, your accounts at community development banks and credit unions are insured at the same level as the mega banks – up to $250,000 per depositor. Read more about credit union insurance here.
Q: Do community development banks and credit unions pay a competitive rate of return?
A: Yes. Community development banks and credit unions pay a rate of return comparable or better than that of banks and credit unions in general. They also provide better customer service and have lower fees.
Q: What if a mega-bank holds my mortgage?
A: You may be able to refinance your mortgage with a community development bank or credit union. If they are offering a lower interest rate than you are currently paying, this may be the time to move.
Q: How do I avoid ATM fees when I bank with a small bank without many branches?
A: A number of credit unions will pay your ATM fees, or they may belong to a larger network that doesn’t charge fees. Otherwise, you can keep a small amount of cash in a free savings account at a local bank that gives you access to their ATM network for free. Then, do the rest of your banking with a community development bank or credit union.