THE BLOG
04/21/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Spiritual Institutions Should Move Their Money Too

I grew up attending a Southern Baptist church in Pittsburgh. One of the recurring issues was the availability of loans for the members of our church. Big banks in Pittsburgh were not always willing to offer mortgages or small business loans to black, working class people, or to black-owed small businesses. In addition, many blacks had a distrust of the banking system. So, some of us held onto our money -- saved it at home.

There was evidence of a more disturbing trend; the culture of saving money was eroding in our community. So our church started a credit union to help foster a culture of saving and provide loans to support our community. I was too young to fully appreciate the significance of this, but this was a tremendous asset to many. Flash forward a few decades and now having an account at a big bank is viewed by many as a sign of prosperity. Well, lest we forget it was the small community banks and credit unions that gave so many minority churches, small businesses, and individuals a chance to prosper. Recently, we have experienced that the big banks do not have our best financial interest at heart. Their top priority is profit.

Over the past month, I have noticed an extraordinary improvement in customer service at my old Big Bank -- offering account analysis free of charge, extremely friendly tellers, accommodating phone specialists. Even so, I am moving my money. It takes some planning for sure. If the process feels a little daunting, break into manageable steps. I have given myself a month. This gave me a chance to be clear with the courteous personnel at my Big Bank as to why I was moving my money.

I am transitioning all of my online and automatic payments to my new accounts. By the end of the month, I will be securely transitioned. I would like to call on all church, temple, mosque, and spiritual leaders to move their institutions' accounts to community banks and credit unions. Let's return to the institutions that served us when no one else would. Let's take our money to the financial centers who will encourage us to create livable budgets that include savings plans and paths to financially responsible home ownership.

Let's move our money to banks that are using our money to help businesses that will uplift our communities. Let's support banks that only invest in other companies that have 100% salubrious affects on our environment. When the economy was booming, the financial data revealed the tremendous buying power of the rising minority groups. Let's harness that power and use it to the greatest good. Move your money. This is how we can positively affect main street.

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