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The Banks We Deserve: Reclaiming Community Banking for a Just Economy (Hardcover)

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We’ve never done anything big in this country without little banks. Yet the number of community banks in the US has been steadily declining for decades, giving way to big banks that have little connection to the communities they claim to serve. The massive, unprecedented shift toward such a highly concentrated banking sector has weakened our ability to take action at a community level and leaves many people, especially those who have been historically marginalized, without access to capital.
In The Banks We Deserve, journalist Oscar Perry Abello argues that community banking has a crucial role to play in addressing urgent social challenges, from creating a more racially just economy to preparing for a changing climate. At their best, community banks unleash the agency and aspirations of the communities that establish them.
Abello challenges people working on racial justice, community development, or addressing climate change to start more community banks or credit unions as part of their work, while also calling for policies and regulatory reforms that will help tilt the landscape back in favor of community banking.

The Banks We Deserve tells the stories of new community banks — like Adelphi Bank, in Columbus, Ohio, the first new Black bank in 20 years; or Walden Mutual Bank in Concord, New Hampshire, the first new mutual bank since 1973 and the first chartered specifically to finance a more sustainable food system; or Climate First Bank, in St. Petersburg, Florida, which has grown exponentially since opening for business in 2021. He hopes these stories inspire others to take some of these same daunting-but-not-impossible steps.

For a community or industry that is being ignored by big banks, the idea of starting up a new bank or credit union rarely figures as an option. In The Banks We Deserve, Abello shows advocates, organizers, and innovators that it can be done, that it is being done, and describes a path to support more community banks and credit unions.

About the Author

Oscar Perry Abello is a journalist covering alternative economic models and policies across the United States. He is currently the senior economic justice correspondent for Next City, an independent, not-for-profit, online publication covering cities from the lens of social, racial, and environmental justice. His writing has also appeared in Yes! Magazine, City & State New York, Impact Alpha, Shelterforce, and other outlets. 

Product Details
ISBN: 9781642833409
ISBN-10: 1642833401
Publisher: Island Press
Publication Date: February 4th, 2025
Pages: 192
Language: English