Place is important to us. We think it could be important to financial systems, too. There was a time when the flows of money related to the place people actually lived. In fact, people still living now remember a time when there were dozens of local stock exchanges across the country, each supporting their own region. Our friend Amy Cortese at the New York Times wrote about that in a recent article.
So where did the “place” part of finance go? As financial markets grew, the rules governing them made it harder for local stock markets to exist. Then, technology made it easier for a global system to emerge. Year after year, our financial system found itself continually detaching itself from anything to do with a physical place.
Along with thought leaders like Amy and financial partners like Craft3, we share a hypothesis that reuniting our financial system with communities would lead to a greater understanding of just how impactful our money can be — visualizing and experiencing how our money interacts with our local economy is part of that process.
It’s one of the reasons we were excited to start our place-based partnerships, and why we’re particularly thrilled to launch a partnership in our home town of Seattle. The City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development asked how they could support place-based finance, and we told them they could help lower the barriers to entry by sponsoring our efforts in certain neighborhoods. They said yes, and now our pilot project is up and running.
The “place” part isn’t just about the business or the government or Community Sourced Capital. It’s also about the dozens of citizens that created the capital for a loan to a business they know. And it’s local: 95% of the lenders for an October CSC campaign, Jude’s, live within a half hour of the business.
It’s an inspiring revolution to be part of — one where we can create systems to drive capital toward communities and places, one where we can reinforce systems with partners that believe in the benefit of localized finance, and one where citizens can take part in bringing that idea to reality.