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When you can bank anywhere, geography stops being a big factor in choosing your bank.
Other factors become much more important: You can pick a bank because you like the app, you can chose a credit union because it offers better CD rates, or you can stick with your hometown bank when you take a job five states away.
Increasingly, you can also chose financial institutions that are aligned with your values, your faith, or the causes that are important to you.
Here is a look at a few of the options for people seeking banks that match their values.
Banking for progressives
Amalgamated Bank in New York traditionally served labor union workers, and expanded to over time to be a proponent of progressive causes. It has long been the bank that progressive candidates running for office have used, for instance.
Over the last couple of years, Amalgamated launched branded deposit products that are tailored to the values of supporters of various progressive organizations. Its most recent partnership is with Planned Parenthood of New York City, the non-profit that provides comprehensive sexual health care.
Keith Mestrich, CEO of Amalgamated Bank, says that its affinity partnerships “help people put their money to work in support of causes they believe in.”
The Give-Back Savings account pays a 0.70 percent APY, and the bank matches the equivalent of half and donates it to Planned Parenthood or whatever non-profit you choose from Amalgamated’s list of partners. There is no minimum balance to earn interest and there’s no monthly maintenance fee. You also receive a debit card carrying the logo of your chosen organization.
Other organizations Amalgamated partners with include UltraViolet, a which promotes the rights of women; Color of Change, a racial justice organization; and the Roosevelt Institute, an equal rights group.
There are several financial institutions with religious affiliations across the U.S., including the Evangelical Christian Credit Union in Brea, Calif. Credit unions typically have a membership requirement, and at Evangelical Christian it is pretty straight-forward: Anyone who agrees with its statement of faith can join.
At its core, Evangelical Christian was designed to serve the financial needs of Americans engaged in missionary work around the world, letting them focus on the “full-time work of ministry,” says President and CEO Abel Pomar.
With each new account, the credit union donates money to missionaries and other Christian-based efforts.
Pomar says the credit union is looking for ways to expand its product set and digital tools so that members don’t feel like they are giving up the convenience of a larger organization in order to align themselves with a faith-based institution
“Today we have all the basic tools, but in the next year our goal is to have more millennial-friendly offerings,” Pomar said.
There are also various institutions oriented around other faiths, too. For instance, University Bank in Ann Arbor, Mich., operates University Islamic Financial, a lender that offers sharia-adherent products, including mortgages that are build around the Islamic prohibition against charging interest.
Environmentally friendly banking
First Green Bank in Orlando is so green that one of its branches has a toilet that runs on rainwater.
Its commitment to green initiatives shows up largely in its lending. For instance, the bank offers discounted interest rates for home projects that meet green building criteria for LEED certification. It also has a program for solar panels.
First Green Bank has a non-profit arm that does everything from supporting local farming initiatives to helping communities better manage its water.
The bank offers a traditional set of consumer products, including checking and savings accounts and CDs, too.
Socially responsible investing
Socially responsible investing (SRI) is an investment strategy that aims to balance financial returns and social good.
There are several variations of SRI investing. Some people really care about good governance, and they want to know that they are investing in companies that care about accountability and transparency. Others may want to invest in companies that don’t rely on sweatshop labor.
SRI strategies are hot in robo-advising, especially as they try to court millennials. For instance, Morgan Stanley included several socially responsible portfolios in its recently launched Morgan Stanley Access Investing platform.
The company says that its research found that 86 percent of millennials are interested in socially responsible investing and that they are twice as likely to invest in a fund if social responsibility was part of its thesis.
While companies like Morgan Stanley and Betterment make SRI an option, it is the bread and butter for robo firms like Motif Investing and Swell Investing, the robo platform from Pacific Life Insurance.
The Case for Staying Local
Trying to align your values with your bank may not necessarily involve switching institutions, especially if supporting your local community is important to you.
Most banks participate in at least some sort of philanthropy in the community. For instance, FirstBank in Lakewood, Colo., cosponsors the annual Colorado Gives Day, a major push for people to raise money for local nonprofits. This year, the event held on Dec. 5 raised $36.1 million.
Try to figure out what your current bank does; it might very well line up with your values.