Move Your Money!
An Opinion by Sandra Novick, SVP, Marketing
Occupy Wall Street and "Big Bank Fees" have focused much attention on alternatives to big banks, namely community banks and credit unions. In fact approximately 2 years ago, Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post advised Americans to speak with their wallets, and move their deposits from big banks to local community banks, specifically those that have a tradition of reinvesting in the communities they live and work in.
Much coverage of the Move Your Money Movement, and Move Your Money Day has focused on the benefits of moving deposits from big banks to credit unions, with a mention of community banks as an alternative as well. Credit unions often offer low cost consumer loans and free checking.
Community banks do too, and offer many other advantages as well. First, is their responsible corporate citizenship-did you know that based on what is described as arcane regulations, credit unions do not pay federal corporate income tax, as their community bank cousins do? It's true. Credit unions were initiated as not for profits, serving specific memberships, usually memberships that served others. Because they were member specific, they were viewed as limited in scope and therefore non commercial. By definition, it was stated and that credit unions "rarely advertise." (Wow-have they checked regional publications lately?) Further, credit unions have limited ability to loan to and service businesses in our communities with cash management and other financial services they require.
On top of paying their fair share of federal corporate income tax, community banks have a tradition of supporting not only their "memberships," but the broader community as well. They do this with financial donations, loans to entities like hospitals and libraries, and investments in local municipal bonds. Community banks re-circulate deposit dollars in loans to local businesses. The local businesses in turn provide goods and services to consumers and other local businesses. Community banks collateralize deposits to meet the requirements of local school districts, while providing the full range of banking services the districts and their employees need. None of the community banks in our region charge fees to customers to use their debit cards, and many offer services and convenience to customers that well-exceed that offered by credit unions. They provide broad branch networks and jobs to local residents.
We can be proud of our freedoms that allow us to voice our opinions and talk with our "feet." Please consider all the benefits that community banks on Long Island offer our communities, and think about moving your money to one of them. It's easy, and many have been serving Long Island for more than 100 years.
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