Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Bank CEO George Bailey are in agreement about banks. Senator Warren believes that: “Banks were once places to hold money and were very careful in lending to finance families as they built a future—bought homes, cars, took out student loans”. George (speaking about his father, founder of the Building & Loan in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”): “In 25 years…he never once thought of himself. … But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter, and what’s wrong with that? “
If you think such a view of banks is outdated and today’s banks only care about their bottom line, think again. Three innovative banking models that are benefitting people, their communities and the planet, itself, are:
- Bank of North Dakota (BND, the flagship of the emerging public banking movement. North Dakota is the only state to be in continuous budget surplus since the banking crisis of 2008
- New Resource Bank was the first publicly traded company to become a certified B or Benefits Corporation, which means it is mission driven to benefit society as well as its shareholders.
- Beneficial State Bank is a B Corporation and Community Development Financial Institution.
The Bank of North Dakota is the depository for all state tax collections and fees. Those funds are then, plowed back into the state of North Dakota in the form of loans. They are invested into the state in economic and agricultural development type of activities. Over the last 12 years, a third of a billion dollars has gone into the general fund to offset taxes or to aid in funding public sector types of needs. BND also partners with many local banks to use some of their own programs to share risk or buy down the interest rate. http://bit.ly/2cyT6Qw
Public Banking Institute reports that Washington State has concluded that public banks do not violate its constitution and is moving forward. Santa Fe City Council has approved a feasibility study to establish a city bank. Elected officials in Arizona are exploring a city bank in Tucson or state bank possibilities. Citizens in Colorado have organized to put a referendum for a public bank on the ballot there. In 2015, Public banking occupied legislative agendas and/or local campaigns in Hawaii, Illinois, Arizona, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. The movement goes forth. http://bit.ly/2cRvJ6R
The New Resource Bank is based in San Francisco. Fifty percent of its employees share ownership of the company and 84% of current loan commitments are invested in organizations that benefit communities and preserve the planet. Four key areas are: environmental protection, health & wellness, education & community empowerment and sustainable commerce. The bank’s goal is a loan portfolio invested 100 percent in businesses that are green and committed to managing their impact on society and the environment. The bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and scores in the top 10% of banks nationwide for our strong financials. http://bit.ly/2clOzyS
Beneficial State Bank is located in Oakland, California with branches in California, Oregon and Washington. It is mandated to produce meaningful social justice and environmental benefits at the same time that it is financially sustainable. The Beneficial Foundation owns all of the economic rights of the Bank. When profits of the Bank are distributed, they can only be distributed to the Foundation.
At the Foundation, there is an impact team focused on driving and measuring the social and environmental impact of the Bank. Areas of focus include creating good jobs, cleaning the air by reducing carbon emissions, improving health of individuals and families by producing organic food, sustainable fisheries and agriculture, and more. In 2015 the bank received $2 million from the Department of Treasury CDFI funds. http://bit.ly/2czveO8
If you are reading this, George Baxter, please know there are some banks today with good hearts and values even if they are not quite ready for their angel wings.
Jan Roberts –Social Change Agent-Creator of Sustainability Programs –Videographer Founder & President Cultural Innovations Agency; Founder Emerita Earth Charter US; Former Adjunct Professor, College of Business at University of Tampa & Author Operation Road Trip: How a Video Camera, a Bottle of Rum and a Car Renewed My Faith in the Future. http://amzn.to/2bDQH4P @opbonappetit https://operationbonappetit.org/