4 Easy Steps to Move Your Money to a Values-Based and Local Financial Institution:
1. Open an account at an institution that shares your values!
2. Order your new checks and debit card.
3. Move your automatic deposits and payments to your new banking institution. Look at your current bank statement to make your list; contact each and change them from your old bank account to your new account.
4. Close your Mega-Bank account AFTER you have allowed time for all automatic withdrawals to be moved. And use a customer comment form at your old bank to state that you have closed your account because you don’t support investment in fossil fuels!
When you move your money to a values-based, local financial institution check out the:
· Fees compared to your current bank
· Ways your money will help your local economy by financing local business
· Decision-makers there and their local ties; credit unions are generally owned by their members
· Involvement of the institution in your community
· How your funds will be invested: in productive investments, such as loans, or in speculative trading
Where to Invest?
· Credit Unions: member-owned, non-profit financial institutions that provide a wide array of financial services and generally invest in local communities.
· Community Banks: Many are community minded and invest in their community. Look for one in line with your values.
· Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI): private financial institutions that are primarily dedicated to providing loans to local, low-income, and underserved communities. Be warned they are generally not insured by the FDIC so check out their financial health before investing.
Some (Easy) Questions to Ask (to get you started!):
Q: At what level would your funds be insured? Is there federal insurance at the general level of $250,000 per depositor?
Q: What is the interest rate of return? What are ALL their fees?
Q: Can you refinance your big-bank mortgage with the CDFI or Credit Union?
Q: What about availability of ATM machines? Is there membership in a larger no-fee network? Will out of network ATM fees be reimbursed?
If need be you could keep a small amount of your money in a bank’s free savings account to get access to their ATM network.
350PDX does not offer investment advice. If you would like to explore divesting your personal assets from fossil fuels, please read the resource materials linked below and, most importantly, consult with your financial advisor to see if changing your investments is right for you. Selling your holdings may involve financial risk and have unintended tax consequences. You should also be aware that there may be a more current version of some of these resources.
What are some financial institutions that invest in fossil fuels?
Video of October 2017 Forum on Personal Divestment: Doing Well While Doing Good