How Green is Your Bank

by Dennis Machicao

I recently came across an interesting environmental subject concerning, of all things, banks. There are a number of green banks. Yes, every bank has a lot of green but that is not what I’m referring to. This green has to do with the environment and how they conduct their business in relation to environmental issues.  Every bank wants you to save paper by doing online banking. And the reasoning for this is not necessarily to address an environmental dilemma. It just saves them money by not printing statements and hiring extra tellers and office personnel.
There are certain banks that have truly taken up the environmental banner. There is a GreenBankReport website ( that covers eco-friendly banking. Who knew? There they list a number of banks that are committed to the environment. And I think they deserve to be listed if you want to business with them.

In a post in GreenBankReport by Chris Lentz, the New Resource Bank of San Francisco, considered that city’s leading green bank, approved a $3 million line of credit to Adam Capital Clean Energy Asset Finance LLC. Adam Capital is a finance firm that extends capital to small-scale solar developers across the US including homeowners, small businesses, nonprofits, schools and low-income housing developments. By doing so, Adam Capital helps developers to install solar energy systems that qualify for federal ITC Grant funds, utility rebates and incentives that are in turn assigned to Adam Capital to repay the short-term loans. A win win situation made possible by the New Resource Bank.

Another bank posted in GreenBankReport by Samantha Rutherford mentions Southern Bancorp in Mississippi. Their Hernando Branch has applied for a full LEED (Leadership In Energy And Environmental Design) certification. When applied to buildings, LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification systems that verifies that a building was designed and built using principles aimed at increasing performance, reducing waste and improving quality of life. LEED certified buildings save energy, have better water efficiency, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve indoor environmental quality.

Another bank mentioned is Fifth Third Bank. It has opened a branch in Charlotte, North Carolina that will use less energy and water and incorporate a number of environmentally advanced features to better its environmental impact. They too will be LEED certified on the Silver level (LEED certification levels are Silver, Gold and Platinum depending on the degree of environmental impact).  This is the bank’s first green banking center in North Carolina adding to their Orlando, FL green center within their 12 state presence.

Early leaders of LEED certified banking centers were PNC Bank and TD Bank. Another bank that has come into the fold is GreenChoice Bank that will become the first Platinum LEED bank in Chicago and the Midwest. Also, First Bank & Trust in Skokie, IL. has broken ground for a green branch.

It seems to be a trend in banking to become more environmentally conscious. Some have started to see that it is good business to tap into the eco-consumer as a customer and also will benefit their bottom line by environmental conservation and not just imposing additional fees that alienate their customers.  I’m sure there are many more banks and more to come that see the environment as an important issue to conduct their business.  Lets support them and maybe the “bigger boys” will see consumers will exercise their willingness to not do business as usual.

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