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Socially Responsible Banking

Reinvesting in the community

We believe the banking industry can do good. As a socially responsible financial institution, Verity is part of a movement working to create stronger, healthier, more sustainable communities, locally and on a global scale. When you bank with Verity, your money helps make positive impacts in our communities. About 87% of our members' deposits are used to invest in the local economy and members through loans, whether it’s a loan for an eco-friendly car, a bicycle, starting a small business or purchasing a home.

All financial institutions use customer deposits to fund loans. The question is: What are they investing in with your deposits, and do those investment support you and your community?

You have a choice in where you bank—why not choose a financial institution doing good in your community.  

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People: we actively promote social equity and empowerment

For strong and vibrant communities to exist, there must be social justice, equity and empowerment for everyone in the community. We can’t say that we build vibrant communities and allow discrimination to continue to exist.  

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Planet: we invest in positive environmental change

A healthy and sustainable environment is critical to a community’s well-being. Verity is committed, through its actions and advocacy, to combat climate change and promote a healthy ecosystem for all. 

 

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Prosperity: we create sustainable economic security

Verity believes that all people should have access to affordable housing and the financial tools to allow them to provide for their basic, essential needs. Lack of affordable housing is at the forefront of our actions around sustainable economic security. 

Washington state with heart

"At the heart of our priorities is our commitment to doing the right thing and making people-centric decisions." 

- John Zmolek, CEO

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  • Promoting social equity and empowerment

    Verity has taken positive steps in the past few years.  Over the past few years, Verity has provided $3 million in capital for the micro-loan program through Business Impact Northwest, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution dedicated to serving under-banked entrepreneurs. The organization provides coaching, classes and access to capital to community small businesses, with an emphasis on working with traditionally underserved populations – entrepreneurial low/moderate income earners, women, people of color, veterans, immigrants or members of the LGBTQ community.  

    In addition to providing capital, several members of Verity leadership volunteer with Business Impact NW to work toward social equity and empowerment. CEO John Zmolek serves on the organization’s board of directors as the secretary/treasurer. CLO Tina Narron serves on the micro-loan oversight committee and is an advisory board committee member for the Washington Women’s Business Center, where she and other staff members mentor small business owners and teach financial education classes. Tina also serves on a new Islamic Finance Committee that is using grant money Business Impact NW received to create a Sharia-compliant loan product--that's any form of financing made according to Islamic law, which forbids the payment or receipt of interest. Director of Community Relations Vivian Valencia serves on a task force for the King County Communities of Opportunity Commercial Affordability Pilot Program. Communities of Opportunity (COO) is a growing movement of partners who believe every community can be a healthy, thriving community—and that equity and racial justice are both necessary and achievable. This task force will support a consultant team in the development and implementation of commercial affordability pilots. 

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  • Investing in positive environmental change

    Verity promotes clean energy locally and on a global scale through providing lending options for eco-friendly products and programs. One example of this is found in our eco-friendly solar loans.  

    Although Verity has been doing loans for solar panels on homes for several years, in 2020 the program really started to expand with our partnership with Solgen, one of the fastest growing solar installation companies in the nation. In June 2020, the Verity Board of Directors took steps to allow us to lend to homeowners outside of Washington for solar panel installation, paving the way for significant growth in this area. The cost of solar power equipment has dropped over 60% in the last decade, making it more affordable than ever for consumers to switch to this renewable energy source. In 2020, Verity expects to do more than $12 million in solar loans, and with the expansion to other states that amount will significantly increase over the next five years. 

    In addition, last year we installed two charging stations at our headquarters for members to charge their electric vehicles while doing business at Verity. We have also made other changes at our headquarters to reduce our carbon footprint, like change to all LED lightbulbs and updating our heating and cooling system to a new energy-efficient system.  

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  • Creating sustainable economic security

    Verity will be opening a branch in Seattle’s first community-driven equitable development project, Othello Square. We made the deliberate decision to step into a community that is overwhelmingly non-white and is underserved by the credit unions in the area. The campus will include COOP housing that provides residents a chance to own their space at a reasonable cost. Verity is partnering with them to develop a first-of-its-kind limited-equity COOP mortgage loan for residents. Othello Square will support onsite jobs, healthcare, education, social inclusion and ownership, and it will allow the culturally-diverse Othello and Rainier Valley community members to access opportunities for higher education, good paying jobs, and support to start and keep a business, while helping to stabilize the community at risk of displacement.  

    A new opportunity to provide economic security came in early 2020 as the pandemic hit and Verity was put to the test as employees, members, and small businesses were severely impacted. When the Small Business Administration (SBA) rolled out a loan assistance program with two days’ notice, we weren’t even set up as an SBA lender. So team members were brought in from other departments and after working around the clock, we completed over 200 loans for small businesses and nonprofits with the Paycheck Protection Program. That allowed over 1,300 employees of small businesses to continue getting a paycheck for the next eight weeks. In addition, the Verity team provided skip-a-pays, payment forbearances, mortgage loan modifications, emergency assistance loans, and financial coaching.  

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Banking for good

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