As national banks soak up bailout dollars, cut lending, and exploit overdraft fees, a number of Americans have decided to move their money to local banks.

Community banks typically eschew predatory tactics, take far less risk in how they manage their money, are more closely connected to the people and businesses in their area, and are more inclined to make prudent loans they know will get paid back. Many of them are nonetheless struggling. The government policy of protecting just the "Too Big to Fail" institutions is badly hurting the small banks, which are having a much harder time competing in the financial marketplace. As a result, a system which was already dangerously concentrated at the top has only become more so.

To help reinvigorate the local banking sector, economist Robert Johnson, columnist Arianna Huffington and filmmaker Eugene Jarecki recently hatched a new proposal that allows anyone with a bank account to channel their anger over the Wall Street bailout.

Watch this video by Jarecki, then go to to learn more about how easy it is to move your money away from the banking giants and what a difference that switch could make.

The idea behind "Move Your Money" is simple, as Huffington and Johnson explained in a recent post: If enough people who have money in one of the big four banks move it into smaller, more local, more traditional community banks, then collectively we, the people, will have taken a big step toward re-rigging the financial system so it becomes again the productive, stable engine for growth it’s meant to be.

JP Morgan/Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America may be "too big to fail" — but they are not too big to feel the impact of hundreds of thousands of people taking action to change a broken financial and political system.

This year make a resolution to move your money away from the big banks that got us into the current financial crisis. Thanks to the informed volunteer services of a group called Institutional Risk Analytics (IRA), you can get a listing of the most sound community banks near you. (IRA lists only banks that, according government data, get a grade of "B" or better.) Find a local bank near you.



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