New Resource Bank: The green bank you are looking for
Defining green banking can be tricky. Ideally, a green bank would make socially responsible loans. It would be great if the bank limited the impact of their buildings and operations on the environment. We might also look for products and services that promote eco-friendly banking and reward customers who bank green.
That’s not really a definition, but to paraphrase a famous Supreme Court decision……. we will know a green bank when we see it.
And seen it we have.
New Resource Bank is a FDIC-insured bank based out of San Francisco, California. What separates New Resource Bank from nearly every other bank in the country is that they are not dabbling with green banking for good PR or as a lark. The principles behind green banking are the core mission of the bank.
To start, New Resource Bank screens loans applicants with a sustainability assessment tool. The bank then works with loan applicants. Upon completing the assessment, clients receive a “tool kit” that is geared to their results and provides guidance on how to become more sustainable. And yes, New Resource Bank will refuse to fund a loan for a company that doesn’t make the sustainability cut.
By creating a top-to-bottom approach to green banking, New Resource Bank ensures that customers can feel good about how their money is being used.
Bill Peterson, the Chief Credit Officer at New Resource Bank, explained to Green Bank Report that by taking a truly mission-oriented approach to banking, depositors can be assured that every deposit dollar is supporting a sustainable project or company. Peterson and other executives at New Resource Bank are looking internally as well. They have adopted environmental procedures that have greened up the bank from the IT Department to waste diversion methods that are eco-friendly.
There is an important point that you should remember about consumer banking on the deposit side. That is, when you open up a checking account, savings account, CD or money market account at a bank you are, in effect, loaning the bank your money. Your interest rate is the borrowing rate you are charging the bank for the use of your funds. With all the shenanigans that banks have been up to the last few years culminating in an explosive credit crisis and taxpayer bailout of financial institutions, many of us want to now keep our money at a bank that we know is doing good things. Even if we don’t take the highest deposit available, there is some peace of mind knowing your deposit dollars are going towards sustainability, responsible lending and eco-friendly banking.
This is where New Resource Bank fits in to the equation.
Deposit at New Resource Bank help support worthwhile projects. Here are just a few of the ways that New Resource Bank green-oriented organizations:
- The bank teams up with companies to expand solar energy production in California and across the United States.
- Consumers can buy Solar CDs that provide funding for residential solar projects in the local community.
- ATM debit revenue is donated to non-profit organizations
- Green-e certified renewable energy certificates (100 percent wind power) are purchased through TerraPass to offset electricity usage and company travel.
- The bank reuses, recycles and composts in pursuit of their goal to divert 95 percent of their waste from landfill.
- A green IT initiative that helped New Resource Bank be named one of America’s Greenest Banks in 2010 by Bank Technology News.
- Remanufactured toner cartridges and chlorine-free paper products with 35–100 percent recycled content are purchased to help conservation of resources.
If you want to support green banking and bank that is doing all the right things, you can still open an account with New Resource Bank even if you don’t live in the San Francisco area. A smart way to do this could be depositing money in a New Resource Bank CD. The rates are not the highest in the country, but beat the national bank rate averages and are yielding higher than comparable U.S. Treasury securities.
CD rates are tiered based on the deposit amount. Here are the current CD rates for deposits of $25,000:
New Resource Bank Solar CD Rates (supports solar projects)
1-year 0.55% APY
2-year 0.75% APY
New Resource Bank regular CD Rates
1-year 0.45% APY
2-year 0.65% APY
3-year 1.11% APY
4-year 1.31% APY
5-year 1.61% APY
Depositors can keep up with how their money is being used at New Resource Bank on their website or by reading the quarterly newsletter issued by the bank.
If you are tired of the big bank model of high fees and irresponsible lending, New Resource Bank could be a breath of fresh air.
It’s a new form of a bank. A bank we can respect.