11 Best Socially Responsible Banks for 2021

These socially responsible banks are the best in the USA for being ethical, sustainable and for green banking for its customers.

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Social responsibility is a crucial term right now – and there has never been a better time to find a socially responsible bank and it’s actually easier than ever!

Given the focus consumers are putting on companies’ socially-responsible practices, banks are becoming more aware of the negative consequences of their business.

In fact, research has found a direct correlation between socially responsible investments and a company’s earnings.

After all, socially responsible companies are more likely to make money, as they have strong social ties.

The article describes the features of banking organizations that keep social responsibility in mind.

Read on to learn about socially responsible banking options.

What Are Socially Responsible Banks?

When you think of “big banks” and other financial institutions, probably the first thing that comes to mind isn’t the environment or social causes.

Despite this, some finance companies help good causes by providing certifications that prove they are investing responsibly- not just for themselves but for their customers’ interests too.

B Corporation

The B Corp Certification is a certification for businesses that balance profit and purpose in their operations.

Banks with B Corp certification help the social economy, reduce economic inequality and poverty in some way, and support sustainable practices.

B Corp is a company that encourages businesses to donate their money or power for the benefit of charities, nonprofits, and governments.

Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV)

The Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) is an independent network of banks all working toward the same goals: using their finances to improve social, environmental, and other good causes.

All of these banks aim to make banking healthier, more transparent, and in turn better for those with interests in or benefactors from the environment.

The network currently has 64 financial institutions and 16 strategic partners to work with, and it’s continually expanding internationally.

Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)

Primarily, the CDFI Fund uses donations to provide disadvantaged communities with balanced access to resources like loans or investment capital.

The CDFI Fund is a partnership with both private businesses and the federal government. Businesses who join contribute, as do those from outside the business world.

11 Best Socially Responsible Banks And Credit Unions

Now let’s take a look at the best socially responsible banks and credit unions out there right now.

These banks and credit unions have earned their reputation as socially responsible through certifications, meaning they would spend your money ethically and responsibly.

1. Aspiration

Aspiration is one of the most well-respected online banks with a B-Corp certification that donates 10% of its gross yearly earnings to charity. Plus, they invite you to learn more and follow along on their socially responsible blog.

They have partnered with Product Red, the Global Fund for Children, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (among others!).

When you open an account with Aspiration, your money goes to support things like renewable energy projects and not petroleum or coal.

Aspiration offers both personal banking products and business accounts. They aren’t federally insured like traditional banks but are audited by a big four accounting firm and are socially responsible.

They offer checking accounts, savings accounts, debit cards options – all with low fees! Its debit card is made from recycled plastic and has a green feel to it in more ways than one. You can also do your part for the environment with their Plant Your Change service.

Also worth mentioning is that they don’t have minimum deposit requirements and you can access your money on a real-time basis.

Aspiration has two accounts, Aspiration and Aspiration Plus, with the latter offering up to 1.00% APY on your savings at $5.99/month, and the former being free and your deposits won’t fund fossil fuel exploration or production.

  • CERTIFICATION: B-Corp
  • PERKS: cashback and APY
  • AVAILABILITY: online-only
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2. Ando

There are socially responsible banks, and then there’s Ando. On its website, the bank provides a socially responsible investment policy that guides its socially conscious decision-making process. Most banks use your deposits to fund fossil fuels. Not Ando. Its investments only support green initiatives.

Ando invests your money exclusively in green initiatives like renewable energy and responsible agriculture, and that means you can potentially have 27 times the impact of other environmental actions, more than putting solar panels on your roof, taking shorter showers, or going vegan.

Yes, 27 times!

Plus, you’ll pay no monthly fees while enjoying early paydays, easy transfers, and an industry-leading interest rate of up to 5.00% APY.

Ando also offers socially responsible banking products and services—for example, no monthly maintenance fees on any of its online banking or premium accounts.

  • CERTIFICATION: B-Corp
  • PERKS: no fees and premium accounts
  • AVAILABILITY: online-only

3. Capital One

Capital One is the perfect bank for people who are looking for an internet bank and a brick-and-mortar experience.

Capital One has social and environmental causes they support such as using renewable energy and supporting low-income women’s employability and they have made it a point to spread their money around those causes.

Since 2015, Capital One has financed over $10B in renewable energy and sustainable building investments.

  • CERTIFICATION: LEED = Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
  • PERKS: customer service
  • AVAILABILITY: mostly online but also some locations nationwide

4. Ally

Ally is a socially responsible bank that does not charge an ATM fee anywhere in the US, even at international locations. In addition, they offer free overdraft protection, mobile deposits and bill pay to save you time and money all the while supporting socially conscious causes such as veterans and education.

  • CERTIFICATION: none
  • PERKS: customer service, high APY on savings, convenience
  • AVAILABILITY: online-only

5. Amalgam

All of the buildings they occupy are certified by LEED for green design and construction. They are cost-efficient, high-performing, and most importantly, resource-efficient.

All of their products are socially responsible as well. For example, they offer socially conscious mortgages and socially responsible credit cards.

  • CERTIFICATION: B-Corp, GABV
  • PERKS: secure deposits, Zelle, bill pay
  • AVAILABILITY: online and in Washington DC, New York, and California.

6. PNC

PNC offers socially responsible mobile banking with smartphones that adapt to you. They also have socially responsible savings accounts that help you save for retirement or a purchase by automatically transferring money into your account each week.

PNC has a business model built on philanthropic effort, financial education, community development and supplier diversity. They are also committed to the environment and are committed to developing sustainable, high-performing buildings and are constantly seeking ways to enhance operational efficiency.

  • CERTIFICATION: none
  • PERKS: ATM fee reimbursement, cash back on debit card purchases
  • AVAILABILITY: online and most states nationwide

7. City First Bank

Founded in 1989, City First Bank provides the Washington area with valuable financial services. It is now the only bank based in DC focusing on community development. Thanks to its certification as a B Corp and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), City First Bank has been able to offer more than $1 billion of development capital and tax credits for under privileged communities.

And City First’s traditional services are as easy to access as the Internet: online banking, telephone banking with 24-hour availability Monday through Friday, and a VISA debit card.

City First offers security and performance that national banks have, but with the values of your local community bank.

  • CERTIFICATION: B-Corp, CDFI, GABV
  • PERKS: credit card, bill pay, 24-hour phone banking
  • AVAILABILITY: local branches in Washington DC or online

8. Beneficial State Bank

Beneficial State Bank is committed to making the world a more equitable place with its focus on supporting minority-owned businesses, mission-driven structures and sustainable practices.

Beneficial is a socially responsible bank that has more than $1 billion in assets under management. For our friends in the West coast, Beneficial offers easy online and mobile banking with features like low minimum balances for checking accounts.

Keep an eye out as Beneficial plans to launch their first credit cards for personal, business, or nonprofit needs.

  • CERTIFICATION: B-Corp, CDFI, GABV
  • PERKS: video-banking, many financial products
  • AVAILABILITY: online and local branches in OR, CA e WA

9. Spring Bank

Spring Bank is New York’s first Certified B Corp bank. It functions as a Community Development Financial Institution, meaning that it operates to support economically underserved areas and emerging businesses.

A bank that caters to your personal needs is one of the first things you should look for in a financial provider. Spring Bank offers competitive rates, as well as many no-fee ATMs and mobile apps- so even if you’re on the go, you can still receive exceptional service.

  • CERTIFICATION: B-Corp and CDFI
  • PERKS: competitive rates, no fees
  • AVAILABILITY: New York and online

10. Mascoma Bank

B Corp certified Mascoma Bank is a positive force in northern New England. With solar loan programs and annual donations, this bank’s customers and priorities all reinvest back into the other.

For over one hundred years, Mascoma has been providing locals with a variety of financial services as well as lending options and more. Any time you are looking for savings accounts, checking accounts or CDs, look no further than the green banks in your community.

  • CERTIFICATION: B-Corp
  • PERKS: a variety of accounts, loans, mortgages, good customer support
  • AVAILABILITY: Northeast U.S.

11. Sunrise Banks

Sunrise Banks has served the Minneapolis and St. Paul area for over 30 years, providing a variety of banking services from commercial and government lending to personal banking, all with an emphasis on financial inclusion and wellness.

The institution’s values are matched by its practices; for every year it offers to donate 2% of its net income in support to organizations which focus on the provision of affordable housing, narrowing the achievement gap and increasing diversity & inclusion.

In addition to the variety of accounts this bank offers, they also have educational resources for youth and their parents.

  • CERTIFICATION: CDFI, B-Corp, GABV
  • PERKS: cash management, variety of products, savings for children
  • AVAILABILITY: Minnesota

Socially Responsible Banks FAQs

Which banks are the most ethical?

Just because a bank is certified does not mean it will be ethical. To determine if the bank you’re considering banking with is doing good or by supporting social responsibility, check their website for information on where they locate and how to donate.

Examples of banks that are socially responsible might include Amalgamated Bank and N26 which both support LGBTQ+ rights and donate to socially conscious causes.

Not all socially responsible banks will provide the same services, but they should be transparent about their social responsibility in order to avoid deceiving customers.

How can I find a socially responsible bank near me? Visit bank website links online or in your local directory. The best way to determine if a socially responsible bank is right for you is to learn more about its socially conscious offerings.

Why are banks socially responsible?

A bank is socially responsible for two reasons: it cares about the future, and banking consumers are increasingly preoccupied with social impact.

Which banks are eco-friendly?

Green banks are socially responsible and eco-friendly. To find an eco-friendly bank, look for socially responsible banks such as Aspiration, Capital One, Spring Bank, and Ando.

Banks that include the environment in their efforts are, by definition, socially responsible which include socially and environmentally aware banks such as Mascoma Bank, Frontier Bank, or Sunrise Banks.

What is responsible banking?

Socially responsible banking means that the bank will not use its money for potentially harmful activities, and will only reinvest customer funds in ethical areas.

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Brian Meiggs
Brian Meiggs is the founder and CEO of BanksDoneRight.com. Brian earned his first bank bonus in 2011 when opening a checking account and he's been finding bank bonus offers for checking accounts and savings accounts ever since.

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