Local Banking 101

Want to start managing your money at a local bank? Here are some of the most common types of accounts and how they work!

Checking Accounts:

A checking account is used to deposit your money including paychecks, cash or refund checks and to pay for short-term expenses. You can withdraw money from your checking account by using a debit or check card, writing checks or withdrawing cash from an ATM. Many local banks offer additional services such as mobile deposit, where you can deposit checks from your phone. 

Savings Accounts:

The purpose of a savings account is to put money away for longer-term needs or emergencies. Money deposited in a savings account earns interest. Interest is the amount of money you earn calculated as a percentage of the money you have in your account. The bank or financial institution where you have your account pays interest for the privilege of using your money for other purposes such as providing loans to other customers. While interest varies by institution, many local banks offer better than market rates. 

Interest-Bearing Checking Accounts:

Some banks offer interest-bearing accounts. The amount of interest paid is usually much lower than a traditional savings account and often you are required to keep a certain amount of money in the account.

Certificate of Deposit (CD) Accounts:

A CD is an investment account in which you agree to let the bank keep your money for a specific period of time. The bank, in turn, agrees to pay you a specific rate of interest on the money you keep in the account. The period of time often varies. The longer the timeframe and the greater the amount of money deposited, the higher the rate of interest paid. There is usually a penalty if you take your money out before the end of the agreed upon timeframe.

Steps for Moving Your Money to a Local Bank

Make Your Money Local!

To continue our Local Banking Month series, we wanted to provide you with all the necessary steps for moving your money to your nearest local bank!

  1. Organize current accounts. Know which accounts you have, so you know which accounts you need to close. Make sure all pending transactions have time to clear.
  2. Pick your new bank or credit union and open your new account/s. Open your new account with a small deposit (electronic transfer is fastest and safest way to do it).
  3. Change your automatic deposits and payments. Make sure to update any direct deposit and automatic payments attached to your old account and update them. (ex. car payments, credit cards, utilities, Clipper card and loan payments).
  4. Transfer your money into your new account. Once all automatic payments and direct deposits are linked to your new account, electronically transfer your money from your old Big Bank to your new account. If electronic transfers aren’t possible for you, you can get your money in the form of a check when you close your Big Bank account and deposit it into your new account.
  5. Say Goodbye to the Big Bank. (This is the fun part.) Go to your Big Bank and tell a teller that you want to close your account (each bank will have different procedures for closing accounts). Get written confirmation that your accounts are closed.

To learn more, read the rest of this piece written by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.


Meet Our Member Banks!

In honor of Local Banking Month, we wanted to introduce you all to our local member banks here at Cambridge Local First!

camb savings logoCambridge Savings Bank

At Cambridge Savings Bank, we are inspired by the lives and businesses of our customers. Cambridge Savings Bank is a full-service financial institution with $2.6 billion in assets. As one of the oldest and largest community banks in Massachusetts, the Bank offers a full line of individual and business banking read more


Cambridge Trust Company 1390_Cambridge-Trust-1

“Cambridge Trust Company is a strong independent bank. Since we opened our doors in 1890, we’ve dedicated ourselves to personal service and hiring experienced, thoughtful professionals. That’s how we’ve grown into a full-service commercial bank. Today, we combine the best of tradition with the latest technology to offer our customers read more


East Boston Savings Bankeastbostonsavingsbank_logo

Operating for 165 years under one name speaks to the underlying strength of East Boston Savings Bank. That’s where honoring our past comes in. Those of us, who work here today; stewards of the Bank founded in 1848, have at most beenhere only 38 years. If not for the read more


780_EastCambridgeSavings-1East Cambridge Savings Bank

Independent mutual savings bank; focused on personalized customer service and profitable growth; offering a broad range of products and services delivered conveniently; resulting in the bank of choice in Cambridge and surrounding areas; with a corporate commitment to the community; and providing a challenging work environment for motivated employees. Mission read more


eastern_bank_leadingEastern Bank

Today more than ever, you need a bank that’s not only there for you, but true to you and your community. That’s Eastern Bank. For nearly two centuries, we’ve been here to help generations of individuals, families, and businesses reach their goals. We’ve accomplished it with honest values and service read more


Leader-Bank-logoLeader Bank

Leader Bank is headquartered in Arlington, MA with branches in Cambridge, Burlington and Belmont. We offer unmatched service for your personal
and business banking, or residential mortgage needs. Our technology through online banking, mobile banking, and mobile deposit offers banking at your fingertips. Learn more about our innovative rewards checking read more


Naveo Credit Union14naveologo

Naveo Credit Union was founded in 1928 when twenty-seven Portuguese-Americans banded together to form a financial cooperative after finding it increasingly difficult to access deposit and loan products from banks in the community. Naveo Credit Union, formerly Cambridge Portuguese Credit Union, was incorporated on March 2, 1928 as a place read more


northcooplogoNorth Cambridge Co-Operative Bank 

The North Cambridge Co-operative Bank was chartered in 1912. We have operated continuously in this location since its inception. The bank’s primary mission has been to serve the banking needs of North Cambridge as well as the surrounding communities. We are proud of our Co-operative heritage and believe our financial strength demonstrates that true community read more

It’s Local Banking Month, Here are the Top 5 Reasons to Bank Locally!


Here at CLF, our goal is always to support local businesses and let people know the benefits of choosing local first! With Local Banking Month beginning, we wanted to take this opportunity to let you know the top 5 reasons to choose local banks over big banks:

1. Get the Same Services at Lower Cost

Most locally owned banks and credit unions offer the same array of services, from online bill paying to debit and credit cards, at much lower cost than big banks. Average fees at small banks and credit unions are substantially lower than at big banks, according to national data. Studies show that small financial institutions also offer, on average, better interest rates on savings and better terms on credit cards and other loans.

2. Put Your Money to Work Growing Your Local Economy

Small businesses, which create the majority of new jobs, depend heavily on small, local banks for financing. Although small and mid-sized banks control less than one-quarter of all bank assets, they account for more than half of all small business lending. Big banks, meanwhile, allocate relatively little of their resources to small businesses. The largest 20 banks, which now control 57 percent of all bank assets, devote only 18 percent of their commercial loan portfolios to small business.

3. Keep Decision-Making Local

At local banks and credit unions, loan approvals and other key decisions are made locally by people who live in the community, have face-to-face relationships with their customers, and understand local needs. Because of this personal knowledge, local financial institutions are often able to approve small business and other loans that big banks would reject. In the case of credit unions, control ultimately rests with the customers, who are also memberowners.

4. Back Institutions that Share a Commitment to Your Community

The fortunes of local banks and credit unions are intimately tied to the fortunes of their local communities. The more the community prospers, the more the local bank benefits. This is why many local banks and credit unions are involved in their communities. Big banks, in contrast, are not tethered to the places where they operate. Indeed, they often use a community’s deposits to make investments in other regions or on Wall Street.

5. Support Productive Investment, Not Gambling

The primary activity of almost all small banks and credit unions is to turn deposits into loans and other productive investments. Meanwhile, big banks devote a sizeable share of their resources to speculative trading and other Wall Street bets that may generate big profits for the bank, but provide little economic or social value for the rest of us and can put the entire financial system at risk if they go bad.

To read more written by the New Rules Project’s Community Banking Initiative, click here.

Want one less thing to remember? Sign up for Auto-Renew!

We are so grateful to have members who renew year after year. Now we are making that process even easier by offering auto-renew. Once you sign up you will be automatically charged annually for your membership. If you like, you can also include a directory ad and make sure to get space in our annual directory (with 25,000 copies distributed throughout Cambridge). When you enroll in auto-renew with an ad you will also receive the EARLY BIRD pricing.

Your privacy is our top priority. All payments are securely run through PayPal payments and you are welcome to cancel your subscription at any time. You will also be sent a courtesy reminder 30 days before the payment is processed.

Please be aware that signing up for auto-renew will charge you for this year's renewal automatically. If you have already paid for your renewal but would like to sign up for auto-renew, please contact us at info@cambridgelocalfirst.org

Sign up for Auto-Renew Today!

To renew for this year's membership and every year after!

Classic & Sonorous: recital, concert, and reception space available


Longy School of Music is located in the historic district of Cambridge, Harvard Square. Their space hosts a century of academic tradition as well as several rooms for rent complete with beautiful architecture and acoustics.

Spaces available to rent for receptions, recitals, practices, and concerts can accommodate 30, 60, and  281 occupants. 

Additionally, publicity services for events are available for renters! For more information visit the space rental information site at Longy School of Music of Bard College. 



Play Lovin’ Local!


Support Cambridge Local Businesses and Win Great Prizes!

This winter has been rough on both Cambridge residents and businesses. The good news is that spring is just around the corner. In an effort to encourage shopping at Cambridge businesses, the City of Cambridge is launching the Lovin' Local raffle card game from March 16 - April 3, 2015. Prizes include gift cards from local businesses, a Hubway membership, and the grand prize of lunch with Mayor David Maher.

Here is how it works:

Residents, visitors and area workers can pick up a game card at one of the following locations:
Mayor's Office, Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge Public Library's Main Branch (449 Broadway), and Cambridge Community Development Department, City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway.

OR Customers will be able to download the raffle card starting Monday, March 16th at: www.cambridgema.gov/lovinlocal
Rules of the game:

Step 1: Shop at a local business.
Step 2: Have the local business sign a cell on the card
Step 3: Take a picture of yourself visiting at least 1 business and tweet, Instagram or Facebook a picture using the hashtag #LovinCambMA. Please tag the business you are visiting, too!

3 completed cells from 3 different businesses gets a contestant 1 raffle ticket, 9 cells = 6 raffle entries. If the contestant hands in a card with a business from each of the different Cambridge commercial districts, they will receive 4 extra entries into the raffle.

How can you help?

  • Make sure your staff is aware of the raffle card. It is a 5X7 postcard, blue on one side, white on the other. We ask that each business initial a cell with the business name and the date of purchase.
  • Use the #LovinCambMA hashtag on your own social media to encourage your followers to participate in the contest. You should direct them to:www.cambridgema.gov/lovinlocal for all the information they need to participate. We will retweet you!

If you want to give a discount to people who show up with a Lovin' Local raffle card, that is OK, but it is not required to participate.

Questions? Please contact Pardis Saffari at 617-349-4654 or via email at: psaffari@cambridgema.gov. Full rules and entry information for the contest can be found at :www.cambridgema.gov/lovinlocal

Winter Relief: City Now Offering Micro-Loans to Small Businesses


It's been a tough winter on all of us, but it's been especially hard on small businesses and on the local economy. Thankfully, the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) has approved a snow storm loan to assist small businesses in their recovery from lost revenue as a result of the storms we've had. MGCC plans on making up to $1 million in micro-loans of $5000-$10,000 to businesses in need. This program is anticipated to run through May of this year. To read more and to learn how to apply for a loan, click here.


How to Have an Awesome St. Patty’s Day in Cambridge



Everyone here at CLF wants to help you embrace your inner leprechaun this St. Patty’s Day. Here are some suggestions for what you can do to make the most of it this year!



Looking to have a nice Irish brew this St. Patrick’s Day? Visit one of our pubs or taverns!

If you’re looking for a more hands-on experience, check out the Cambridge Brewing Company.

Want to be a little more rebellious? A Whisky Rebellion will fit the bill.



Want to run off some of that food and drink? Sign up for Craicfest!

If you can’t make Craicfest, the luck of the Irish is on your side! There is another  road race in Fresh Pond on March 14th.



If you’re looking for some more laid back entertainment, we’ve got you covered.

You can go catch a classic like Conan the Barbarian at the Brattle Theater.

If movies aren’t quite your thing, check out what shows the Middle East has to offer both downstairs and in the corner venue.



If you want to get in touch with more of the Irish culture, you can attend A Saint Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn at Harvard or stop by the Irish Film Festival! But first browse a huge selection of clothing, ceramics, jewelry, and housewares all from Ireland at Irish Imports.



If you need a place to hunker down after a day of fun, book a room at one of our fabulous inns or hotels.

We wish you an amazing St. Patrick’s Day celebration, may the luck of the Irish be on your side!

Updates on Taxes for 2015!

Taking guesses on your tax form can quickly turn into the IRS and your business engaging in the world's most dangerous game.

Here are the latest updates on individual mandate and self-employed tax law brought to you by Hajiani CPA. For more details or a consultation on taxes or accounting please contact Alamir Hajiani at al@alamircpa.com! 

The employer Affordable Health Care ACT (ACA) mandate starts to kick in.


Companies with 100 or more full-time equivalent employees must offer health coverage to full-timers or pay a tax. Full-timers are those employed at least 30 hours-a-week on average, but there’s a good chance this number will be raised.


Starting in 2016, firms with 50+ full time-equivalent workers will be subject to the pay-or-play rules, and the coverage offer will be expanded to dependents, including kids under age 26.


The 20 % top rate on dividends and long-term gains starts at a higher level for 2015...singles with taxable income above $413,200 and joint filers above $464,850. The 3.8% Medicare surtax boosts the rate to 23.8%. The regular 15% maximum rate applies for filers with incomes below these amounts, except that filers in the 10% or 15% income tax bracket still get the special 0% rate.


The basic Medicare Part B premium remains $104.90 per month in 2015. But the upper-income seniors still have to pay higher Part B and D premiums if their modified adjusted gross income for 2013 exceeded $170,000 for couples or $85,000 for single people. The 2015 Part B surcharge doesn’t change, while the Part D add-on rises slightly. The total surcharges on upper-incomers can be as large as $301.60 a month. 


The adoption credit can be taken on up to $13,409 of costs, a $210 boost. If the credit is more than a filer’s tax liability, the excess is not refundable. The full $13,400 credit is available for a special needs adoption, even if it cost less. The credit starts to dry up for filers with AGIs over $201,010 and ends at $241,010. 


The kiddie tax has a little less bite. The first $1,050 of unearned income of a dependent who doesn’t work is tax-free, a $50 hike. The next $1,050 is taxed at 10%, and any unearned income over $2,100 is taxed.


The standard mileage rate rises to 57.50 cents a mile for business driving, up 1.5 cents. The rate falls to 23 cents a mile for medical travel and moving and remains at 14 cents for charitable driving. Standard rate users can also deduct the cost of parking and tolls.

Many key dollar limits on retirement plans are a little higher this year: The maximum 401(k) contribution rises to $18,000, up $500 from 2014. Individuals who were born before 1966 are allowed to put in as much as $24,000.


New Equipment and Machinery: Only $25,000 of assets qualifies, down from $500,000, and the $25,000 phases out once more than $200,000 of assets are put in service.

Questions, concerns, comments? Let us know and we'll put you in touch a quality CPA!

Taxes have a reputation for being difficult and bogged down with official jargon. If you're experiencing difficulty please reach out to Cambridge Local First. We're here for the community and have connections with reputable, local accountants who are willing to give you a complimentary consultation.