Banks without money

Mar 29, 2009 @ 12:01 am

By Sue Asci

There are about 200 penniless banks in the United States that will never need a federal bailout.

Known as "time banks," the institutions are becoming more popular as the jobless rate rises, according to Edgar Cahn, founder of TimeBanks USA, a non-profit organization in Washington that assists in setting them up.

In the first two months of this year, requests for startup kits doubled to 32 from a year earlier, he said.

Here is how time banks work: For every hour that people perform a service for someone in their community, they earn credit for that time. The participant can then use their credits to exchange for someone else's services.

Members generally don't pay a fee to join a group.

Starter kits from TimeBanks USA cost $49.50 and include six free months' use of Internet-based software to manage the network, Mr. Cahn said. To renew the use of that software, there is a fee of $99 annually for groups of fewer than 35 people and $500 annually for those with more members.

But time bank coordinators can also opt to use a free computer-based software program called Timekeeper instead.

The popularity of time banks is partly due to the economy, Mr. Cahn said. "People have more time at home now, and families are trying to figure out how to survive," he said.

One time bank, the Time Trade Circle of Cambridge, Mass., has seen its membership triple to about 206 members since September, said Katherine Ellin, the group's founder.

A computer-based networking program allows members of the Time Trade Circle to set up profiles describing the services that they are willing to provide. In addition, there is a marketplace where members can search by category.

The Time Trade Circle's members offer a range of services, including cake making, gardening, pet care and computer assistance.

"It seems like there are more people with more time than money," Ms Ellin said.


What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Featured video


How NextGen talent is impacting financial services

Nextgen talent brings a diverse perspective and unique skills to the industry. Find out why two Utah Valley University students are so excited to make a difference.

Video Spotlight

Will It Last As Long As Your Clients Do?

Sponsored by Prudential

Video Spotlight

The Catalyst

Sponsored by Pershing

Latest news & opinion

Wealth management firms struggle with lower fees, fewer new clients

Advisers in North America earned less from clients last year and saw a decline in average fees, according to a new report by PriceMetrix.

These investors are allowed to put $500K into a Roth IRA at once

The HEART Act permits rolling all or part of life-insurance and combat-related-fatality payouts directly into the tax-free retirement plan, but few take advantage.

Labor's Alexander Acosta and SEC's Jay Clayton tell lawmakers they will work together on fiduciary rule

In separate appearances before Senate panels, the regulators stressed the cooperation that Republican legislators and opponents of the DOL fiduciary rule are demanding.

Brian Block denies cooking the books at Schorsch REIT

Former CFO claims everything he did was 'appropriate' and 'correct.'

Interns will take on several roles at advisory firms this summer

College students are helping with client prep, firm visioning and long-term projects, among other duties.


Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print