Many of us are convinced that moving our money makes sense and, yet, we aren’t doing it. Rather than decrying ourselves as hypocrites, let us take a closer look at the barriers that we are facing. In the third part of the series, I will offer some solutions. First, though, we need a clearer understanding of the problem.
If you go to the Move Your Money Project website, you can type in your ZIP code and get a list of local banks and credit unions to choose from. What you don’t get, though, is a way to choose. To find out whether a bank or CU offers the services you are looking for, for example, you need to do additional research. If there were a tool that allowed you to select what services are important to you (for small businesses this could include a line of credit) and maybe even other criteria, such as the organizational structure of the institution (if you’re looking to bank with, say, a cooperative), choosing a new place for your money would be simpler. I suspect this is one of the first barriers we face: If we’re already moving our money to bank in more alignment with our values, we want to choose the best financial institution for us that also offers the services we’re looking for.
Another early barrier is all the work involved in moving our money. Even for an individual that task can be daunting: We need to remember all the automatic payments we set up, make sure all of our checks cleared, change ATM cards, remember new passwords etc. For a small business or a non-profit, the tasks involved quickly multiply when we also need to move how our payroll is done and how we pay our vendors. All of this takes time of which we often don’t have much to spare as we try to build (or run) a successful business.
Knowing a bit about how the backbone of a bank works, one of my concerns is the ability for smaller institutions to do effective fraud screening. When I bank at a credit union, I would prefer if they could catch attempts to hijack my account whether that happens through forged checks or stolen ATM card information. Not knowing whether a small institution has such screening in place might be a deterrent for us to move our money. After all, we want our money to be safe and our banking involve as little hassle as possible.
Finally, if we move the money of a larger business or even a city, we might be concerned if such new volume would swamp a community bank or credit union. The bank down the street might not be set up to handle payroll for thousands of employees, for example. This has been a concern of several cities who considered moving their money. This also ties back to the first barrier: We don’t have an easy way to determine which of the financial institutions in our neighborhood could offer the service we need, including something like a large payroll.
Have you faced any other barriers? If so, please let us know!