You live your live as socially and environmentally conscious as you can. You eat organic food, don’t buy products created in sweatshops or with child labor, and care about the environmental practices of the companies that produce the products you buy. Socially responsible banking helps you put your money where your mouth is!
Should You Leave Your Bank?
Have you applied those same principles to your banking? If not, it’s time to take a look at how the bank spends/loans your money. When you make a deposit, your money doesn’t sit in the vault, waiting for you to withdraw it. The bank is lending your money (and millions and millions of other people’s money) to companies and other financial institutions all over the world. As stakeholders in these financial institutions, do you know how your money is being used? Does your bank have a policy statement about who they will/will not lend money to? Are the companies receiving the loan engaged in activities that are bad for the environment, or violate human rights? If so, how would you know that? It is your right to know who your bank is lending your money to.
Banks that offer socially responsible accounts
The only way to be sure that your savings is being put to good use when the bank lends it out is so work with a bank that makes their criteria explicitly clear. For example, there is San Francisco based New Resource Bank, which services values-driven businesses and non-profits. There’s Aspiration’s Summit Bank Account. Or Beneficial State Bank, a community development bank. These institutions are FDIC insured, just like the big banks, but provide greater transparency in how your deposits are used. Likewise, your local credit union likely has a mission statement and lending criteria they can provide.
The Socially Responsible Mutual Fund company, Calvert, has an arm of it’s institution called The Calvert Foundation. This foundation offers an investment product called the Community Investment Note. To date, the Calvert Foundation has raised over $1.5 billion from more than 18,000 investors, many of them individuals putting in as little as $20. The money is then invested in hundreds of funds, organizations, and projects that, the organization reports, are striving to make a measurable impact around the world.
Remember, every dollar you spend is a vote, make those votes count!
Other articles you may be interested in include Creating Financial Freedom, Psychology of Money, The Best Laid Plans, Stock Market Basics