Money Where Our Mouth Is: Independence Day From Big Banking

A question recently came up on our internal team list. One of our team members was looking for recommendations on where to move her money.  She was currently banking with Chase and was disturbed by learning of the connection between Chase and BP.  This being just one reason of many to move your money from a big bank like Chase, she decided it was time.  Many of us at CivicActions bank with local banks or credit unions and the responses to her query brought many stories of others who had either recently or long been banking with credit unions.

I moved my money out of Chase earlier this year to my local credit union, BECU, and haven’t looked back. Their customer service is fantastic, their online banking system rivals any of the large bank systems I have used, and I would highly recommend them to any qualifying resident of Washington State. 

Aligning our banking with our values is not just a personal choice at CivicActions, it is also a choice we make as a company. After a few years with a local credit union in Berkeley we switched our business accounts to New Resource Bank. NRB has a mission to advance sustainability with all their practices, including the types of loans made, general operations and a commitment to using deposits to support work for good. Clients of NRB are for the most part dedicated to the triple bottom line of “people, planet, profit” or in other words, environmental, social and financial returns. Their commercial lending programs serve primarily “green” and sustainability-oriented businesses like us, and the staff are experts in sectors such as renewable energy and green building.

If that wasn’t enough, the bank operates out of LEED Gold certified office, is a certified Green Business by the City of San Francisco, and they offset 100 percent of their electricity usage through certified renewable energy certificates. New Resource Bank one the way to becoming a Certified B Corporation, meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance.

So as we mark the Independence Day Holiday, declare your independence from big banks and find a local community bank or credit union to meet your needs. You can find local banks through move her money‘s bank locator, or a credit union through Find A Credit Union. Ask friends for recommendations, and then spread the word to other friends. I would suggest checking out their online banking system before joining as it makes a world of difference.


This post written with Aaron Pava

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