Why Go Local?

Economic studies show how shopping at local, independent businesses is not just a nice thing to do, it is truly one of the best ways to strengthen and sustainably grow our economy. The data shows that through buying locally we can create more jobs and retain more of the wealth of our community right here where it belongs. A 2012 study undertake by Civic Economics found that the local retailers return an average of 52 percent of their revenue to the local economy, compared with just 16 percent for the chain retailers. Similarly, the local restaurants re-circulate an average of 79 percent of their revenue locally, compared to 30 percent for the chain eateries.

A similar study conducted in Andersonville, Illinois shows that when you spend a $100 at a local business 58% more money on average stays in your community compared to what would have happened if you spent that hundred dollars at a national chain store. The results of another study in West Michigan indicating that if people shopped just 10% more often at local businesses that it would keep an extra 53 million dollars in wages in their community and create over 1,600 new jobs.

What would be the effect if we did the same here?

Here are six reasons to go local:

1. More Money Re-Circulates In Our Local Economy

When you shop at locally owned, independent businesses more money is kept in the community because local businesses often purchase from other local businesses, service providers and farms. Buying locally helps grow other businesses as well as our region's tax base.

2. Non-Profits Receive Greater Support

Non-profits often receive greater support from local business owners, sometimes as much as 350% more money, than they do from non-locally owned businesses.

3. Most New Jobs Are Provided By Local Businesses

Small local businesses are the largest employers nationally. A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.

4. Unique Businesses Are Part Of Our Distinctive Character

The unique character of our community is what brought us here and will keep us here. Our tourism businesses also benefit, because "our place doesn't look like everyplace". According to Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust, "When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace."

5. Local Business Owners Invest In Our Community

Local businesses are owned by people who: Live in this community; are less likely to leave; and are more invested in the community's future. In turn, these local businesses in city and town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investments, add more to our tax base and make more efficient use of public services.

6. Customer Service Is Often Better

Local businesses often hire people with more specific product expertise and they invest in their employees for better customer service — AND — a marketplace of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure customer services standards remain high, and that there is greater innovation and low prices over the long

Why Bank Local?

If you already get your food locally and shop locally and are not yet banking locally, this is truly one of the next best things you can do with your money. The shift to banking locally, combined with a shift in spending to locally owned, independent businesses, is a powerful force that will re-shape our local economic landscape.

By shifting demand to local banks, it creates opportunities for our local financial institutions to invest our deposits through loans to increase local business capacity, which in turn allows local businesses and their employees to increase deposits and savings through their success. This virtuous cycle is a key driver for creating jobs and enduring well-being for all members of our local Valley economy.

Here are six reasons to bank local:

1. We Give You The Same Services At A Lower Cost

Most locally owned banks offer the same array of services, from online bill paying to debit and credit cards, at much lower cost than big banks. Average fees at small banks and credit unions are substantially lower than at big banks, according to national data. Studies show that small financial institutions also offer, on average, better interest rates on savings and better terms on credit cards and other loans.

2. We Put Your Money To Work Growing Your Local Economy

Small businesses, which create the majority of new jobs, depend heavily on small, local banks for financing. Although small and mid-sized banks control less than one-quarter of all bank assets, they account for more than half of all small business lending. Big banks, meanwhile, allocate relatively little of their resources to small businesses. The largest 20 banks, which now control 57 percent of all bank assets, devote only 18 percent of their commercial loan portfolios to small business.

3. Decisions Are Made Locally, By People Who Live Locally

At local banks, loan approvals and other key decisions are made locally by people who live in the community, have face-to-face relationships with their customers, and understand local needs. Because of this personal knowledge, local financial institutions are often able to approve small business and other loans that big banks would reject.

4. We Share Your Commitment To Your Community

The fortunes of local banks are intimately tied to the fortunes of their local communities. The more the community prospers, the more the local bank benefits. This is why many local banks are involved in their communities. Big banks, in contrast, are not tethered to the places where they operate. Indeed, they often use a community's deposits to make investments in other regions or on Wall Street.

5. We Won't Gamble Your Money Away On Wall Street

The primary activity of almost all small banks is to turn deposits into loans and other productive investments. Meanwhile, big banks devote a sizeable share of their resources to speculative trading and other Wall Street bets that may generate big profits for the bank, but provide little economic or social value for the rest of us and can put the entire financial system at risk if they go bad.

6. You Can Be Proud Of Where You Bank

Not many people these days will tell you that they are proud of their Big Bank. A great deal more will tell you they are proud to Bank with local people, at a local Bank, who share their commitment to the local community, and keeps its money circulating in the local economy.

Now that you know the benefits of banking local, what are you waiting for? Open your account online today to start putting your money where it matters most — back into your community.