Benefits of Banking Locally

Benefits of Banking Locally

Contributed by: Pioneer Valley Local First, Northampton, Mass.


For the past 12 years, Pioneer Valley Local First has been educating people in Western Massachusetts about the benefits of buying and banking locally. We would like to update our Bank Locally website and campaign with the latest available data and create a visual about how fractional reserve lending (also known as local banking multiplier) works and an interactive map that conveys that banking locally is not just convenient, but that moving your money to a local bank benefits the community as a whole. Everything the project team comes up with will be used in both our website and the thousands of printed copies of our Local Business Guide.

The Challenge

We envision three components of this challenge:

  1. Get the latest deposit data so we can update our breakdown of money in local banks vs money in national banks:
  2. Create a visualization or infographic that conveys the effect of the “local banking multiplier.” Essentially, this multiplier means that up to nine times the value of a single local deposit can return to the community in the form of a loan. The text description is here, but a visual aid would add so much more:
  3. Show people where they can find branches of local banks. Many people assume that local banks don’t have good area coverage. Not true! Can we create an interactive map to show people that (A) local banks are everywhere throughout the 3 counties of the Pioneer Valley and (B) to help people find what local banks/credit unions are nearby to where they live or work. One example we know of is in Sonoma County, CA:
    Ideally, our map will have an easy way for someone to add and remove branch locations as needed, so it remains up to date?


  1. The FDIC has data (released October 12, 2012) of all bank branches and their deposit amounts (not including credit unions):
    (more information and data dictionary:
  2. The National Credit Union Administration has data on credit unions and their deposits:
  3. If additional data about personal income, wages, etc. is needed, county-level information is available from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The Bureau of Economic Analysis, a national sponsor of Hack for Change, has also released a beta API:


Pioneer Valley Local First will be available to pitch the project and work all week end with the project team.