Resources for evaluating your financial institutions
- Things to Consider when evaluating your bank, developed by Evangelical Reformed UCC in Frederick, MD
- A Shoppers Guide to Better Banking from the Center for Responsible Lending
- findabetterbank.com, a well-regarded site for finding a better bank
- Move your money
- Credit union association web page and aid in finding a credit union
- The New Bottom Line, "a national campaign fueled by a coalition of community organizations, congregations, labor unions, and individuals working together to build a movement that challenges established big bank interests on behalf of struggling and middle-class communities."
- Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) may be particularly good choices. Get more information from the National Community Investment Fund, the U.S. Treasury Dept., and a report [pdf - 1.23 MB] from the Hauser Center of the National Community Investment Fund and the Initiative for Responsible Investment at Harvard University.
Just Principles for Financial Transactions developed by Center for Responsible Lending through their conversations with faith groups
- Promote honesty, clarity, transparency and evenhandedness. All sides should have the same opportunity to understand and negotiate a contract. Kick backs and fees that distort lender and broker incentives to deal fairly with customers should be eliminated.
- Prohibit unconscionable rates of interest. Usury caps to address abusive lending should be reinstated.
- Include traditional underwriting standards. Lenders have a responsibility to assess whether borrowers can repay.
- Support equity in credit across communities. Practices that particularly burden communities of color or low-income communities must be ended.
- Limit fee-based penalties and business models that depend on consumer-over spending and recurrent indebtedness. Penalties against repaying debts early should be eliminated.
- Require that the interest and fees charged on a loan are reasonable and proportional to the services rendered.
- Call upon that banks and credit unions provide a range of responsible banking and credit products in their communities.
- Establish financial institutions which adhere to these principles in poor neighborhoods and other underserved communities.