, Gloucester, MA

April 30, 2013

Letter: Making the case for banking locally

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

In fictional Lake Wobegon, Minn., where NPR and “Prairie Home Companion’s” Garrison Keillor tells us “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average,” they bank locally — at Bob’s Bank, where the motto is “Bank at the Sign of the Sock.”

This is a constructive way people can help change a badly broken banking system. By banking locally, we can support banks that support our local communities, and stop supporting big banks that have done so much harm to us all.

May 1 is National Bank Transfer Day. The idea is to encourage everyone to pull their money out of the big banks, and transfer it to local banks.

After all, why continue to support the gross incompetence that resulted in the Crash of 2008? Why support the bailouts, foreclosures and enormous CEO bonuses that enriched Wall Street and ravaged Main Street?

The big banks have barely gotten their wrists slapped for all this because, in this Citizens United era, government is dominated by big money, and, in politics, money talks. The message has been loud and clear: don’t touch the big banks, they are too big to fail.

This is a public relations disaster for the big banks, and it is entirely self-inflicted.

Nevertheless, the big banks continue on — unprosecuted and undisciplined. And they devise new and imaginative ways to wring money out of stones; I mean, their customers.

Had enough of that? Had enough, period?

If so, Transfer Your Money Day is for you. Empower yourself! Empower others by your example. Empower local banks to continue doing what they are so good at: empowering Main Street.

Why not invest in our local banks that do so much to invest in us? The government will not change the banking system, but we can: with our money.

Here on Cape Ann, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average,” we can do our part. Let’s bank locally. Let’s “Bank at the Sign of the Sock.”