Stacy Mitchell shared the best localist trends during a BALLE Live! Local First Webinar last week. For those of you who joined us, you heard the case as to why local is critical to community well-being, why local banking matters so much, and how Local First campaigns continue to provide customers, customers, customers!
In case you missed it, though, here are some highlights:
We all know that Localism is a critical component of a local economy, but did you know it’s also critical to our social and civic outlook as well? Turns out that having a strong foundation of locally-owned businesses translates into better social capital, a more engaged constituency, higher voter turn-out and more free speech than those communities without. And with a 40 year low for global food stock, the importance of having a strong local agriculture option is key to resiliency as well. We heard that businesses with a strong Local First campaign in their community outperform those without, giving local retailers an edge even when compared with the advertising juggernauts of chain stores. We hope this translates into even MORE Local First campaigns this holiday season!
When it comes to banking, Stacy shared some good news and not-so-good news. First, we know that local banks are better at identifying risky borrowers and therefore maintain stronger portfolios that national conglomerates who make decisions off credit scores or statistical analysis that never takes into consideration the whole picture. For that reason we know large banks aren’t lending, especially to small businesses. A recent study she shared showed that half of all small businesses surveyed were unable to obtain financing. And we know that the big banks, the big four, now account for 60% of the global lending market. And Bank of America alone is bigger than all local banks combined. How’s that for a Halloween scare!?
The good news though is that our money is moving from Wall Street to Main Street at the highest rate in history. Six hundred thousand of us moved our money from national big banks to local banks in the last few years. And we’re starting to measure what matters by looking not just at price when it comes to shopping, but the big picture of health benefits, value, engagement and more.
Thanks to Stacy Mitchell and to ILSR for a meaningful conversation full of “aha” moments that re-inspired us as we make the case for Localism!