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A couple years ago, lefty journo-mogul Arianna Huffington called on the American people to take their money out of the big corporate banks and put into local ones, which are more invested in the communities where they’re based. It was an outgrowth of the Move Your Money campaign, and has reverberated through various Occupies around the country, which have staged account closings at Wells Fargo and Bank of America branches.
The whole time, Eaglebank has been pushing the District government to do basically the same thing. Tomorrow, the D.C. Council will examine a bill that would set up a program to place more of the city’s assets in small banks—-like Eaglebank, as well as Independence Federal and Bank of Georgetown—-in exchange for a requirement that they lend to D.C.’s small businesses in less-than-$5 million increments. In theory, that’s very good for the little banks, of which there are fewer than there used to be, and also good for local small fry that might expand their business or start a new one if they could only convince a lender to give them the money (especially considering that federal efforts to get other small banks * to loosen up haven’t gone so well).
How much could this amount to? “In the scheme of things, not that much,” Councilmember Jack Evans told me last night. The District has about $1.1 billion sitting in banks, and the bill doesn’t specify how much of that will go to community banks. But even a few hundred million, leveraged, would generate more cash for people who want to do things in the city other than work for the federal government. Which, as we all know, is a very worthy goal.
CORRECTION, 2:07 p.m. – Not large banks.