1. Get the same services at lower cost

Most locally owned banks and credit unions offer the same array of services, from online bill paying to debit and credit cards, at much lower cost than big banks. Average fees at small banks and credit unions are substantially lower than at big banks.

2. Put your money to work growing your local economy

Small businesses, which create the majority of new jobs, depend heavily on small, local banks for financing. Small and mid-sized banks control less than one-quarter of all bank assets, yet account for more than half of all small business lending.

3. Keep decision-making local:

At local banks and credit unions, loan approvals and other key decisions are made locally by people who live in the community, have face-to-face relationships with their customers, and understand local needs.

4. Back institutions that share a commitment to your community

The fortunes of local banks and credit unions are intimately tied to the fortunes of their local communities. The more the community prospers, the more the local bank benefits.

5. Support productive investment, not gambling

The primary activity of almost all small banks and credit unions is to turn deposits into loans and other productive investments. Meanwhile, big banks devote a sizeable share of their resources to speculative trading and other Wall Street bets that may generate big profits for the bank, but provide little economic or social value for the rest of us and can put the entire financial system at risk if they go band.

Source: Community Banking Initiative of the New Rules Project. Visit newrules.org//banking for more information and resources.