Believe it or not, your money is powerful. You use it to buy everyday things like clothes, food, and utilities—those things that make it possible to live. You may also use it to provide your kids with an education that opens opportunities for them in the future. Or give it to local charities to express your values and help others out of a tough situation. That’s all powerful stuff.
When you’re not spending your money—when you’ve placed it in a savings or investment account—your money is still powerful. You may think it’s not doing anything, waiting for you to spend it, but that’s not how it works. The truth is that when you’re not using it, your money is still working. Your financial institution is keeping it busy, making investments, financing loans, and more. They may invest your money in any number of things, and those activities may or may not be consistent with your values.
They make choices about the types of loans they approve, some lending to big businesses and others to small employers in your community. When you put your money in local credit unions and banks, you can make a positive impact on your community’s prosperity because they lend and invest locally. Whereas larger, national institutions often move your money outside your community in search of better financial returns.
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When we talk about values-based banking, we mean being aware of how and where your money is working when you’re not using it. Where do you want your money to have an impact, not only for your benefit, but also the community you live in? You have the power to support local, values-based businesses that are committed to using your money, along with your neighbor’s, locally and for the common good.
That means that we are all bankers to some extent. We get to choose where we spend our money and what businesses we support. In doing so, we can collectively make a difference. No one is perfect, but if we all act with intention, our little part of the world may just become an even better place.
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As a VSECU member, you can do more with your money.