The Neighborhood National Bank: putting our money where our mouth is

Last week in his Chapter Notes, Mark Lester mentioned moving a Cathedral investment account to a social responsible, local bank. Cassie Lewis tells us more about it:

Recently the Chapter voted to move a chunk of money ($47,000 or so) from its current money market fund into a money market with Neighborhood National Bank (NNB). NNB is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), which means that it takes the capital at its disposal and uses it to fund loans to minority-owned small businesses or to fund community development projects, such as affordable housing developments.

By placing money in this bank rather than in a typical corporate bank, we take a prophetic and profound step, putting more meat on the bones of our commitment to social justice: making capital available to the poor either directly or to agencies that will bring benefits to the communities where they reside.

CDFI’s are an easy win-win-win for all parties, appealing equally to conservatives and liberals alike. Conservatives are happy because these banks are rewarding those individuals who are embarking on generating their own self-sufficient income, and liberals are happy because of the intentional benefits to poor communities. The cool thing is that we don’t have to make any new financial contributions; we simply move our money from a corporate bank to a bank which helps to bring about a better world for the least of these, thereby bringing our finances a little closer to alignment with the justice-focused ethical principles of the Bible (see www.chedmyers.org for more on what the Bible has to say about all this).

I personally love the idea of removing my money from the grasp of corporations which sometimes end up creating realities which I find myself protesting against later. Kind of a funny cycle to find oneself in…fighting against the companies that we ourselves have funded to wreak the havoc that we disapprove of.

Now when St. Paul’s Cathedral of San Diego touts its motto “A Cathedral for the City,” we get to point to yet another way that this is so: the low-income communities of San Diego will get a boost from our very own financial investment.

Thanks, St. Paul’s Chapter, for your forward-thinking about how we steward some of the precious contributions of our parishioners. Perhaps others of us can follow the Chapter’s lead and begin thinking about how we too might better align our finances with our Christian values. I have banked at NNB for 4 years now and have loved the experience. (You can bank by mail/online if driving there isn’t convenient).
Wouldn’t it be something if St. Paul’s could start a movement where its parishioners start making a difference for our low-income neighbors by simply moving at least a portion of their finances to an institution like NNB??  You aren’t giving any additional money, but leveraging the money you have.  So you can make a further difference, while still maintaining your pledges to the Cathedral and other causes.

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