Buying local means banking local

(2)By Eric Morse

There’s a trend happening in this country which is encouraging for 2013. It’s the “buy local” initiative. This movement is driven, in my opinion, by a flight from “big brands.” At Logan Airport, we see the troubles at United and American while the long lines at JetBlue and Southwest seem to indicate that these smaller carriers may be doing just fine.

Years ago we were told that the local hardware store would become a relic, yet as we look out from our headquarters on Great Plain Avenue in Needham, we see the constant line of residents who prefer shopping at our local hardware store rather than driving out Route 9 to the big box stores.

Across the street, we see two fantastic bakeries which exist because the folks who live here prefer a local merchant for their morning cup of coffee and muffin over a national coffee chain.

And we’re delighted at the good work of community farms where your neighbors prefer buying locally. The buy local movement is so evident in the communities we serve. And the people who are buying locally are typically those who are most vested in their community.

We each have one vote – or one “share,” if you will – in the outcome of our town. That share or vote is manifested in the local purchase decisions we make, which is why it is so important for each of us to get involved in the community.

It is for that reason that I’d like you to think about extending your buy local commitment to banking local, wherever that may be, because where you bank does matter. At the financial epicenter of every vibrant community like ours is a successful community bank where, likely, you can locally purchase free checking with enhanced online and mobile banking. And the bank probably will waive those annoying ATM fees which non-local banks charge for the privilege of using their machines. Community banks also offer an impressive suite of commercial banking products including remote deposit capture.

Further, it may interest you to know that cooperative banks like ours take our year-end profits and make a significant investment in your community in the form of financing and donations to worthy causes. This is an important distinction from the big banks. Where you bank does matter, to which I hope you’ll give some thought in this new year.

You’d be surprised what a difference you’ll be making if your commitment to buying local in 2013 means banking local. Shopping locally is simply good for our community, its residents, its local merchants, and importantly its local bank. I hope you’ll consider your local commitment in 2013 as seriously as we do ours.

Eric R. Morse is first vice president of marketing and retail sales at Needham Bank and a member of the Newton-Needham Chamber’s Shop Local committ