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Socially Responsible Banking: Doing what’s right for people, planet and prosperity

By VerityCU January 22, 2021 About verity

Ever wonder what happens to your money when you deposit it into a bank or credit union? Do you picture each branch with a huge vault, filled with stacks of cash just sitting there waiting for their owners to come back and withdraw it. That may be how it looks in the movies, but the reality is a little different. 

Financial institutions are constantly borrowing and lending money. Money taken in from depositors is “borrowed”, and same funds are then used for loans to other customers.  There is no huge vault with stacks of cash because the money is always in flow, with a healthy reserve held back for emergencies. Your deposits become the source of funds for loans and other investments while you aren’t using them.

So the question is, what kinds of things is your bank investing your deposits in, and do those things align with your values? For example, is your bank investing or lending for things like fossil fuel production or are they investing in renewable energy? Are they investing in Wall Street investment funds  or are they using those funds to lend to entrepreneurs in your community?

Where your money sleeps at night makes a difference. By challenging the initiatives and projects that the major banks invest in and support, we can change the world. However, an overall lack of transparency makes it difficult for consumers to know how their money is being used. Even among the biggest banks who use public relations to highlight the good they are doing, consumers are only given a small piece of information about the overall investments of the bank.

Verity Credit Union believes in socially-responsible banking. It’s a movement of financial institutions that work to create stronger, healthier, more sustainable communities, locally and on a global scale. Verity is committed to being a community leader by using our members’ deposits responsibly and actively leveraging our resources to make a positive impact on people, planet and prosperity. This is Banking for Good.

  • Verity invests over 87% of its members’ deposits into loans for local consumers and small businesses.
  • Verity does not invest in fossil fuel production of any kind. In 2019 we signed the Climate Change Commitment and vowed to measure the carbon footprint of our loans and investments by 2022, to analyze the real impact of overall footprint and then work to improve it.
  • Over 28% of Verity’s loans are dedicated to things that support people, planet and prosperity, such as loans for solar panels and electric/hybrid vehicles, loans for first-time home buyers, and loans to support consumers and businesses during the pandemic. Our new goal is to achieve 47% of our loans in this category.

At the heart of Verity’s commitment to being a socially responsible financial institution is doing the right thing and making people-centric decisions. Check out this recent article in the Seattle Times about Verity’s commitment. As a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (the only member in the US Pacific Northwest), we share a mission of using finance to deliver sustainable economic, social and environmental development.

It’s time to ask your bank what they are investing your deposits in. Want to learn more about Verity’s commitment to socially responsible banking? Check out our Why Verity page.