Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 29: Find a Greener (Local?) Bank

Megan: I can't believe you still let your bank "walk-all-over-ya." You should really find a local bank and keep your money here, in our community.

Tony: Big banks have tons of ATMs and are much more convenient. They also offer online banking. Besides, I like knowing my money is safe in a "too big to fail" bank like...hmm...on second thought...

When I moved to Elon, I opened an account at Wachovia since they had the most convenient ATMs. Not only was there an ATM on-campus, I could also use my university ID as the ATM card.

Fast-forward to 2009, and Wachovia nearly went under until it was bought up by Wells Fargo. While they are still convenient, Megan argued that there must be a better local option. After I watched a video about investing locally, I decided to make the switch. Wanting to have something both local and convenient, I decided to do some research. Below is a map of some "local" banks in Alamance County.

View Local Banks in Alamance County in a larger map

In some cases, "local" meant Alamance County and that's it. In other cases, "local" meant only in North Carolina. I visited a few and opted for MidCarolina Bank. Their new Rewards Checking account offered 4.25% interest, so long as I had direct deposit, 10 transactions per month with my debit card, and e-statements. Everywhere else I looked was offering less than 1% and typically less than 0.2%.

I don't think I'm doing much for the planet in making this switch, but I am helping the local community, and that has to be worth something.

Pocket: 4, Planet: 6, Win-Win: 19

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