Press Release

Rhode Islanders urged to shift funds from Wall Street to Main Street

Moving your money to a local bank or credit union can benefit the local economy, according to local experts and a national “bank local” campaign

Rhode Island News: Rhode Islanders urged to shift funds from Wall Street to Main Street

April 13, 2023, 12:53 pm

By Local Return

Local Return, dedicated to building community wealth in Rhode Island through ownership and investment announced today that April is Move Your Money Month in Rhode Island. The announcement was made at Hope & Main‘s recently opened Downtown Makers Marketplace.

Choosing a local bank is one of the easiest ways to support our local economy,” said Jessica David, president and co-founder of Local Return. “When you deposit your money with a community bank or credit union, you’re supporting loans to small businesses, mortgages for your neighbors, and grants to local nonprofits. In contrast, the big banks aren’t connected to places where they operate, and they often use Rhode Island deposits to make investments elsewhere.”

Local Return wants to to Move Your Money to local banks and credit unions

The Bank Local, Invest Local campaign, spearheaded nationally by the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), encourages people to support community banks and credit unions as part of their efforts to move more of their money from Wall Street to Main Street. The Move Your Money campaign also coincides with Community Banking Month, led by the Independent Community Bankers of America.

According to national data, most locally owned banks and credit unions offer the same services at lower costs than big banks. “People’s Credit Union is here to serve Rhode Islanders and Rhode Island businesses,” said President & CEO Sean Daly. “We know that our success, our members’ success, and the community’s success are inextricably linked. And our staff and leadership come from the community, so they know Rhode Island markets and neighborhoods best.” analyzes public data from every bank and credit union in the United States. According to their data, for example, for every $100 on deposit, People’s Credit Union invests $78 in the community, and 100% of its deposits are based in Rhode Island. This compares to $25 and 1% for Bank of America or $19 and 1% for JP Morgan Chase.

This isn’t a surprise to entrepreneur Mariana Silva-Buck, owner of Little Maven Lemonade. When she met Boston Children’s Hospital at Rhode Island’s only food trade show, they decided to serve Little Maven Lemonade to all of their patients. She needed to scale her business. She credits a line of credit from Berkshire Bank for providing the growth capital she needed. “Berkshire wanted to see us succeed,” said Silva-Buck. “They took an interest in us because they knew we were focused first on the regional market, and they were responsive to our specific needs.”

Local banks and credit unions invest locally in many ways. For example, the Pawtucket Credit Union (now Coastal1 Credit Union) provided seed funding for Keys to Success, an individual development or savings account (IDA) program. The program matches participant savings up to $2,000, allowing low- to moderate-income Rhode Islanders to access reliable transportation. “Keys to Success helped me buy my car,” said Nnkabaale Kasaa, a 2022 graduate of the program. “Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to save up enough money to help me support and grow my business.”

The potential is significant. “United States households and nonprofits held just over $18 trillion in banks in the form of deposits, checking accounts, savings accounts, and money market funds in 2022,” said Michael Shuman, local economist and AMIBA board member. “If you and your neighbors could shift even a small amount of that capital from Wall Street to Main Street, your local economy could flourish.”

Find more information, including the data for more Rhode Island banks and a Move Your Money Toolkit, visit Local Return.

See also: Campaign seeks to encourage fossil fuel divestment among RI municipalities and non-profits

The mission of Local Return is to build community wealth in Rhode Island through ownership and investment, particularly in neighborhoods that have experienced historical disinvestment. We do this by building local community investment opportunities, advocating for policies and practices that support a vibrant and just local economy, and increasing community consciousness.