Tools for Starting a Local Move Your Money Campaign

Date: 19 Apr 2010 | posted in: Banking | 2 Facebooktwitterredditmail

We have compiled the following resources to help community groups, including Independent Business Alliances and Local First organizations, develop local public educational campaigns that convey the benefits of choosing a locally owned community bank or credit union and help people make the switch.

Please let us know if you have questions, suggestions on what else to include here, or campaign materials from your community to share. We’ll be adding more to this page over time, so please check back or sign-up for periodic updates.

We also encourage you to visit the Move Your Money site.


Top 5 Reasons to Choose a Community Bank or Credit Union

7 Simple Steps to Move Your Checking Account



We define a community bank as one that is locally owned and rooted in a particular community, and that has less than $1 billion in assets. (In banking, the term “assets” includes the total value of items, primarily loans, that are due to the bank. A bank’s capital is a small fraction of its assets.) There are currently 7,344 community banks in the United States. Collectively, they hold 12 percent of U.S. deposits.

Credit unions are non-profit financial institutions that are owned and operated by their members, who must share a defined common bond – they are all employees of the same firm, for example, or live in the same community. There are 7,806 credit unions in the United States. They account for about 6 percent of U.S. deposits. All but about 150 of these institutions have assets of less than $1 billion.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are mission-driven institutions that provide financial services to underserved communities. They include credit unions, banks, and loan funds. To be certified as a CDFI by the U.S. Treasury Department, an institution must meet specific criteria regarding the share of its loans and other services that flow to low-income areas. The U.S. is home to several hundred CDFI banks and credit unions.



One way to produce a list of banks operating in your area is to use the FDIC’s Deposit Market Share report generator. The resulting report will tell you how many offices and deposits each bank has within a city, metro area, or state. This allows you to identify small, local banks, as well as see the share of your community’s deposits held by big banks.

Community Bank Locator — Use this searchable directory maintained by the Independent Community Bankers Association to find local community banks in your area.

Credit Union National Association’s credit union locator — Use this to find credit unions in your area. (This is a directory of all credit unions, including large, non-local credit unions. To determine the asset size of a particular credit union, look it up in the National Credit Union Administration’s database.)



You can rely on our growing collection of graphs to convey important information about the benefits of choosing local banks and credit unions. See in particular:

Average Consumer Fees by Size of Financial Institution — Small banks are significantly less expensive than big banks.


Consumer Services Available at Community Banks — Most community banks offer the same breadth of services as big banks, from credit cards to online bill paying.


Small Banks and Small Business Lending — Community banks do far more small business lending than big banks.



  • Big Banks Want You Back | March 11, 2010 Those who wonder whether public anger at big banks and the Move Your Money sentiment sweeping the country is substantial enough to impact these giants need only look at the banks’ own marketing over the last few weeks to see the proof.
  • Move Your Money and Save | Feb. 22, 2010 New data show that big banks impose much higher costs on their customers than small banks and credit unions do.
  • Banks and Small Business Lending | Feb. 10, 2010 Although small and mid-sized banks control only 22 percent of all bank assets, they account for 54 percent of small business lending. Increasingly the availability of financing for local businesses in your community is one of the most compelling reasons to move your money to a local financial institution.
  • Move Your Borrowing Along with Your Money | Jan. 29, 2010 As we start down the path of breaking up with the big banks and exercising our economic citizenship on behalf of our own interests and that of our communities, we should think about the whole range of financial services we use.





A growing number of states and cities are considering legislation that would move government bank accounts to small community banks and credit unions. Local business alliances and community organizations have been instrumental in pushing for these policies.  You can find more information and model bills here.



  • Develop relationships with local banks and credit unions and ask them to report any increase in new accounts and other activity resulting from your campaign.
  • Once a year, the FDIC publishes market share reports. You can see the share of deposits held by each bank operating in your city, metropolitan region, county, or state, and track any changes over time.



Please let us know if you have questions, suggestions on what else to include here, or campaign materials from your community to share. We’ll be adding more to this page over time, so please check back or sign-up for periodic updates.


Avatar photo
Follow Stacy Mitchell:
Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its Independent Business Initiative, which produces research and designs policy to counter concentrated corporate power and strengthen local economies.