Banking on Values
Many of these banks had their origins earlier than the recent banking crisis and they were established by people who were already dissatisfied with the morality of the banking industry, particularly in the United States. However the movement of financial institutions banking on values is not confined to the US.
These banks that are banking on values either have a focus on the environment, the communities they serve or other very specific goals that go well beyond the maximization of shareholder value.
I was a board member of Femu Qui SA, a small regional venture capital and lending institution on the island of Corsica. Femu Qui was established to provide funds for startups and small businesses with an eye to increasing employment, rather than amassing capital. We were pretty good at that too and the company still is very successful. Femu Qui is a member of the European Federation of Ethical Banks and Alternative Banks.
One institution banking on values I use is the Urban Partnership Bank,is based in Chicago, an FDIC-insured, full-service community development bank that was created in August 2010. With $1.4 billion in assets, it works together with individuals, small businesses, nonprofits, foundations, and faith-based organizations in distressed and underserved urban communities in Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit to deliver quality financial services that often cannot be obtained elsewhere. It strives to catalyze economic and environmentally sustainable opportunities that build better lives and vibrant urban neighborhoods, while creating long-term success.
I use the online banking service of Urban Partnership Bank, not least because I get a better saving account interest rate than my regular bank.
Another Chicago bank, GreenChoice Bank is the first holistically sustainable bank in the Midwest. GreenChoice is banking on values concerned with a specific focus. A local community bank, they are dedicated to offering a better choice in banking for consumers and businesses and does so via a relationship-driven approach to banking. They are located in the Green Exchange building–an iconic four-story former factory being converted according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum standards. It is a B Corporation.
New Resource Bank, based in San Francisco, is a B Corporation. New Resource Bank is the bank for people who are leading the way to a more sustainable world–the way they are banking on values is through their dedication to sustainability. They match an entrepreneurial spirit with a dedication to achieving environmental and social as well as financial returns. Their mission is to advance sustainability with everything they do—the loans they make, the way they operate and their commitment to putting deposits to work for good.
Sunrise Community Banks is a family owned banking group comprised of three locally owned and managed banks; Franklin Bank, Park Midway Bank, and University Bank headquartered in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Sunrise Community Banks’ mission is to be “The Leader in Improving Our Urban Community”. They too are, like Venture Founders, a B Corporation.
Next Street provides high-potential and high-performing urban businesses with the customized financing solutions and advisory services they need to compete: business strategy, financial advisory, organizational development, and full-service marketing and advertising. Next Street focuses on businesses and markets that have been poorly served by traditional sources of capital and that offer attractive opportunities due in part to their location, size and demographic trends. The bank selects high-performing companies with a strong desire to grow. They look for small businesses with revenues between $1 million and $100 million, with a ‘sweet spot’ of revenues from $5 million to $25 million. It’s based in Boston and New York and largely serves the inner city.
Green Bank in Texas has the vision is to become a preferred provider for business and personal banking products and services, the employer of choice in the markets they serve, the investment preference for investors, and a champion for a cleaner, healthier environment and this is the way they are banking on values
OneUnited Bank is fulfilling the hundred year old civil rights dream by garnering the savings power of its communities and channeling it back into urban communities for economic development. It is the first Black internet bank and the largest Black owned bank in the country, with offices in Los Angeles, Boston and Miami. While having their specific orientation, the bank sets out a stall that is banking on values.
Southern Bancorp is a unique organization that combines non-profit organizations with the stability and permanence of America’s largest and most profitable rural development bank. It includes traditional community banks and 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. The banking organizations are long-term members of their respective communities with the ability to influence both public and private policy initiatives and create local, state, and national support for Southern’s community development work.
One PacificCoast Bank is an FDIC-insured Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that serves businesses, nonprofit organizations, and individuals. One PacificCoast Bank operates from a triple-bottom-line measuring its financial, social, and environmental impact to meet the needs of its communities. The bank is headquartered in Oakland, California with branches in Seattle, Washington, Ilwaco, Washington, and Portland, Oregon.