Move Your Money

Move Your Money graphic

Our economic choices matter. Even if we don’t have the outsized wealth of Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates, there are consequences to how we spend and invest our money. 

Choosing a local bank is one of the easiest ways to support our local economy. Thinking locally is about more than spending your dollars locally. It’s about investing in your community as a whole, and that starts with where your dollars are deposited. 

Because April is Move Your Money: Bank Local, Invest Local Month, we’ve got a Make the Move Toolkit for you: 

  • Step one: Know why local financial institutions matter.
  • Step two: Consider your options. By our count, there are local bank and credit union branches in 35 of Rhode Island’s communities.
  • Step three: Be specific about your needs. Be clear about what kind of product(s) you’re looking for. And remember: there’s no reason you can’t have relationships with more than one financial institution.
  • Step four: Make the move. And celebrate it! Tell your friends and family why you are banking local, and share your move news with us on Twitter or Instagram using #moveyourmoney, #banklocal, or one of the graphics below.

#MoveYourMoney Graphics

Local Banking Options 

If you want to find a bank that keeps your money close to home and puts it to work for your community (here are four good reasons why you should!), we’ve got a list of community banks and credit unions in Rhode Island. 

By our count, there are branches in 35 of our 39 municipalities. You can bank locally in villages from Pascoag to Riverside, and Manville to Chepachet. 

Don’t forget to do your research first: 

  • provides a rating of how well banks contribute to the health of local economies. For example, Peoples Credit Union merits ⭐️⭐️⭐️(out of three stars) for Strong Impact, compared to Santander’s ⭐️ Weak Impact rating. 
  • shows you what banks invest in. For example, for every $100 you deposit at Bank Newport, the bank makes $74 of community investments. Compare that to $26 for Bank of America. 
  • Community credit unions and banks formed to respond to the needs of local people, so learn the history of your bank. For example, Navigant Credit Union launched in 1915 in the basement of Notre Dame Parish in Central Falls to serve Blackstone Valley textile workers. 

Bank Newport 
Ownership: Stock 
Headquartered in: Newport 
Branches in: Barrington, Bristol, Coventry, Cranston, East Greenwich, Jamestown, Johnston, Middletown, Narragansett, Newport, North Kingstown, Portsmouth, Providence, Tiverton, Warren, Warwick

Bank Rhode Island 
Ownership: Stock 
Headquartered in: Providence 
Branches in: Coventry, Cranston, East Greenwich, East Providence, Johnston, Lincoln, Middletown, North Kingstown, Pawtucket, Providence, Smithfield, Wakefield, Warwick, Woonsocket

Centreville Savings Bank 
Ownership: Mutual 
Headquartered in: West Warwick 
Branches in: Coventry, Cranston, East Greenwich, Narragansett, North Kingstown, Providence, Warwick, West Greenwich, West Warwick 

Community & Teachers Federal Credit Union 
Ownership: Cooperative 
Headquartered in: East Providence  

Coventry Teachers FCU 
Ownership: Cooperative 
Headquartered in: Coventry

Cranston Municipal Employees Credit Union 
Ownership: Cooperative 
Headquartered in: Cranston 

Greenwood Credit Union 
Ownership: Cooperative 
Headquartered in: Warwick 

Home Loan Investment Bank
Headquartered in: Warwick
Branches in: Cumberland, Newport, Providence, Warwick

Independence Bank
Headquartered in: East Greenwich 

Navigant Credit Union 
Ownership: Cooperative
Headquartered in: Smithfield 
Branches in: Central Falls, Chepachet, Coventry, Cranston, Cumberland, East Greenwich, Greenville, Lincoln, Manville, North Providence, Pawtucket, Riverside, Rumford, Scituate, Slatersville, Smithfield, Wakefield, Warren, Warwick, Woonsocket 

Pawtucket Credit Union  
Headquartered in: Pawtucket
Branches in: Bristol, Cranston, Cumberland, East Greenwich, East Providence, North Kingstown, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, Smithfield, Wakefield, Warwick 

Peoples Credit Union 
Ownership: Cooperative 
Headquartered in: Middletown
Branches in: Bristol, Middletown, Newport, North Kingstown, Portsmouth, Wakefield 

Ocean State Credit Union 
Ownership: Cooperative 
Headquartered in: Coventry
Branches in: Coventry, North Kingstown, West Warwick

Rhode Island Credit Union 
Ownership: Cooperative 
Headquartered in: Providence
Branches in: Bristol, Cranston, Kingston, Pascoag, Pawtucket, Providence

Washington Trust
Ownership: Stock
Headquartered in: Westerly
Branches in: Block Island, Charlestown, Coventry, Cranston, East Greenwich, East Providence, Johnston, Narragansett, North Kingstown, North Providence, Providence, Richmond, Rumford, Wakefield, Warwick, Westerly 

Wave Federal Credit Union 
Ownership: Cooperative 
Headquartered in: Warwick 

Westerly Community Credit Union 
Ownership: Cooperative 
Headquartered in: Westerly
Branches in: Coventry, Richmond, Wakefield, Westerly

Woodlawn Federal Credit Union 
Ownership: Cooperative 
Headquartered in: Pawtucket

If we’ve missed any community banks or credit unions, please email us.

Why bank local? 

Community banks and credit unions are embedded in local communities, rely on strong customer relationships, and understand the needs of local people, businesses, and markets. Here are four great reasons to bank local (adapted with gratitude from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance). 

1. You’ll get the same great services for lower costs. 

Most locally owned banks and credit unions offer the same services at lower costs than big banks. According to national data, smaller banks offer lower average fees, better interest rates, and better terms on credit cards and other loans. They opened to serve local residents and businesses, providing services that people otherwise wouldn’t have been able to access. And they’re staffed by people from the community, which results in personalized attention.

2. Your money will be put to work supporting the local economy.  

Small businesses depend on local banks for financing, especially in moments of crisis. Consider this: 

  • In 2018, community-based financial institutions made 52% of all small business loans nationwide, even though they controlled only 16% of total banking assets. Giant banks, which controlled 59% of bank assets, made up just 27% of small business lending. (Source: ISLR)
  • During the pandemic, local banks distributed PPP funds to small businesses more quickly and more equitably. Community banks made 60% of all Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans—including 72% of PPP loans to minority-owned businesses. (Source: ICBA)

3. Like you, local banks are invested in the prosperity of the local economy and community.

Big banks are not connected to the places where they operate, and they often use a community’s deposits to make investments in other places. Local banks prosper when local communities prosper. 

Small, local banks and credit unions want to turn deposits into loans and other productive investments. Big banks devote a sizeable share of their resources to Wall Street bets that may generate big profits for the bank but offer little economic or social value for the rest of us. And as we’ve seen, if they go bad they put the entire financial system at risk.

4. Decisions will be made locally. 

At local banks and credit unions, loan approvals and other key decisions are made by people who live in the community, have relationships with their customers, and understand the local needs. Because of this, they often approve small business loans that big banks would reject. Even better: at credit unions, control rests with the customers, who are also the owners.

Why buy local?

Every $1 you spend has consequences. If you choose to buy from locally-owned businesses, your money does more good for your local community. We can give you at least six good reasons to buy local:

  1. Money: When we shop local, money stays in our local economy longer and does more good. For every $100 you spend at a locally-owned business, an average of $68 stays in the local community. Compare that to just $43 for a big box store.
  2. Jobs: Local businesses = local jobs. Small businesses are the state’s largest employer. They hire our neighbors, family members, and friends.
  3. Charm: Local businesses shape the character of our communities. They make our places unique and interesting.
  4. Climate: Buying local is good for the environment. It means less resources and energy were used to transport goods.
  5. Community: Local businesses are more inclined to give back to the local community — think Little League teams, raffle donations, and charitable giving — because they are part of the local community. They donate almost 2.5x more per employee than national chains.
  6. Trust: It feels good to do business with someone you know.

With every purchase you make, you can strengthen the Rhode Island economy.