5 green banking tips to save the planet

Sustainable CDs
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Put your money where your mouth is here. These innovative certificates of deposit use your invested money only to finance solar projects and fair trade.

For example, New Resource Bank's solar CD uses your investment to help finance solar energy projects. The CDs have one-year to two-year maturities and pay slightly higher interest rates to spur new depositors.

Wainwright Bank & Trust, based in Boston, offers a different version. It has its Equal Exchange CD with a three-year maturity. The CD acts as collateral for the cooperative Equal Exchange to fund coffee, tea and cocoa produced by small, family farms that promote sustainable farming methods. But there's a downside.

"If its line of credit defaults, people will lose their money," says Steven Young, a senior vice president at Wainwright Bank. And the interest rate paid is the same as for a regular CD. The key to these novel types of CDs is asking questions about how the money will be invested and whether you can lose your principal.




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