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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Saturday, October 22, 2011

    Targeting the Banks: who owns what

    I have been pushing for divestment in the four worst banks. I base my choice of worst banks on several criteria: customer service complaints filed with the Comptroller of the Currency, predatory lending practices including racist policies and targeting veterans, right wing politics including support for tax breaks for billionaires while advocating cutting social programs, whinging about "big government" while begging for taxpayer funded bailouts, etc. To some degree I also base it on the rating system of the Responsible Shopper website.

    I have been targeting Bank of America, Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargo. Of these four, three are also the worst on the Responsible Shopper website: Bank of America, Chase, and Citibank. Fidelity and Vanguard are also among their worst. I haven't targeted them because they aren't really "banks."

    I have been pushing as alternatives to the worst banks switching to Credit Unions, TD Bank (a large bank that avoided all the predatory lending practices), USAA (for Veterans and their families), and small local banks.

    I got a good question to an earlier comment I made about divesting from the worst four. I was asked if a particular small bank was owned by one of the large banks. Which led me to investigate who owns what.

    So, if we want to fight Wall Street, we need to move our money out of the predatory lenders and into some decent, responsible banks. A good place to find the bad banks is, again, Responsible Shopper. This site compares companies and gives profiles on those companies. They only rate big companies, so credit unions and local banks are not included. For good options skip to the bottom where I will review sources for finding good, responsible banks and financial institutions.

    But first, I want to review the big bad banks and financial institutions covered by Responsible Shopper and highlight what smaller institutions they own. That will help people choose the best options.

    WORST BANKS BY ALL STANDARDS: (a tie on the Responsible Shopper website between Bank of America and Citigroup)

    Worst customer service, highest fees, most predatory lending, most right wing and leeching bailout money for CEO perks.

    Bank of America: worst of the worst and the most long term target of boycotts.

    From Responsible Shopper:

    • Bank of America is the second largest US bank and operates more than 5,700 branch locations.

    • Bank of America has been sued by the New York State Attorney General for multiple instances of improper mutual fund trading, including the most costly trading scandal to date, which the company settled for $675 million.

    • Bank of America claims to enrich communities with its nationwide reach, but its acquisition of MBNA, the country's third-largest credit card company, has raised concerns about continued predatory lending and soaring interest rates due to stifled competition.

    • Bank of America is one of the largest investors in coal and coal fired power, which is responsible for nearly a third of the nation's CO2 emissions, and also funds surface coal mining.


    Affiliates: (these are the companies that may or may not obviously be Bank of America but are...I only include American and Canadian affiliates that don't have the full "Bank of America" name)

    - AFSA Data Corporation (Other) - Long Beach, CA
    - BA Asia Ltd. - Hong Kong, China (Hong Kong)
    - BA Merchant Services Incorporated (Subsidiary) - San Francisco, CA
    read more
    - BA Merchant Services Incorporated (Subsidiary) - San Francisco, CA
    - Columbia Financial Center Inc. (Other) - Portland, OR
    - Columbia Management Advisors - Rochester, NY
    - Columbia Management Advisors, Inc. - Portland, OR
    - Columbia Management Advisors, Inc. - San Francisco, CA
    - Columbia Management Group - Boston, MA
    - Columbia Trust Co. - Portland, OR
    - Fleet Bank (Parent) - Blue Bell, PA
    - Fleet Bank (Subsidiary) - Paramus, NJ
    - Fleet Bank - Albany, NY
    - Fleet Business Credit Corp. - Chicago, IL
    - Fleet Capital Canada Corporation - Toronto, Canada
    - Fleet Capital Corp. - Atlanta, GA
    - Fleet Capital Corporation (Other) - Glastonbury, CT
    - Fleet Capital Leasing - Providence, RI
    - Fleet Capital Leasing - Troy, MI
    - Fleet Capital Leasing Healthcare Finance Corp. (Subsidiary) - Parsippany, NJ
    - Fleet Credit Card Services, L.P. (Other) - Horsham, PA
    - Fleet Growth Resources Inc. - Providence, RI
    - Fleet Insurance Advisors (Other) - Mount Laurel, NJ
    - Fleet Insurance Services (Other) - Cranford, NJ
    - Fleet Investment Services Inc. - Providence, RI
    - Fleet Pennsylvania Service - Wilmington, DE
    - Fleet Retail Finance Inc. - Boston, MA
    - Fleet Trust & Investment Services Company, N.A. - Stuart, FL
    - FleetBoston Financial Corporation (Subsidiary) - Boston, MA
    - FleetBoston Financial Corporation - Boston, MA
    - FleetBoston New Jersey - Princeton, NJ
    - Progress Financial Resources, Inc. - Philadelphia, PA
    - Progress Realty Advisors, Inc. - Blue Bell, PA
    - Wanger Asset Management Inc. (Other) - Chicago, IL



    Citigroup: Second worst bank

    From Responsible Shopper:

    • Citigroup is the world's largest financial services group, and offers its clients insurance, credit cards, banking, and investment opportunities.

    • Citigroup has spearheaded industry efforts to fight legislation that would restrict bank consolidation.

    • Citigroup has been accused of engaging in predatory lending practices that prey on the financially vulnerable.

    • Citigroup is one of the top financiers of coal mining and coal fired power plants.

    •Citigroup's record proves that its desire for profits come at the expense of environmental and social sustainability.


    Affiliates: (again only US and Canadian ones and only ones that don't clearly have "Citi____" in their name)

    - A. Friedrich Flender AG - Bocholt, Germany
    - Acciones y Valores de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. - Mexico, Mexico
    - American Health & Life Insurance Company (Subsidiary) - Fort Worth, TX
    read more

    - American Health & Life Insurance Company (Subsidiary) - Fort Worth, TX
    - Associates Finance - San Juan, PR
    - AST Stockplan, Inc. - New York, NY
    - Auto One Acceptance Corp. - Dallas, TX
    - Bearing Inspection Inc. (Subsidiary) - Los Alamitos, CA
    - California Commerce Bank - Los Angeles, CA
    - CityStreet - Jacksonville, FL
    - Communico - Clearwater, FL
    - Constitution State Claims - Buffalo, NY
    - Constitution State Service LLC - Hartford, CT
    - E.J. Footwear LLC - Franklin, TN
    - Erico International Corp. - Solon, OH
    - Flender Corporation (Branch) - Elgin, IL
    - Flender Power Transmission, Inc. - Markham, Canada
    - FNC Insurance Agency Inc. - Frederick, MD
    - Geneva Companies LLC - Irvine, CA
    - Grand River Navigation Co. - Avon Lake, OH
    - Kiku (Subsidiary) - Honolulu, HI
    - Loher Drive Systems, Inc. - Houston, TX
    - Lower Lake Towing Ltd. - Port Dover, Canada
    - Mid-America Insurance Services Inc. - Normal, IL
    - MSX International, Inc. - Auburn Hills, MI
    - MSX International, Inc. - Warren, MI
    - National Benefit Life Insurance Company - New York, NY
    - PFS Investments, Inc. - Duluth, GA
    - PFSL Investments Canada Ltd. - Mississauga, Canada
    - Phibro Inc. - Westport, CT
    - Primerica Financial Services Ltd. - Mississauga, Canada
    - Primerica Financial Services, Inc. (Subsidiary) - Duluth, GA
    - Primerica Financial Services, Inc. - Kosciusko, MS
    - Primerica Life Insurance Company - Duluth, GA
    - Primerica Life Insurance Company of Canada - Mississauga, Canada
    - Scholar Craft (Subsidiary) - Irondale, AL
    - Sears Life Insurance Co. - Fort Worth, TX
    - Smith Barney - New York, NY
    - Strategic Industries, LLC - Alpharetta, GA
    - The Geneva Companies Inc. - Irvine, CA
    - Tower Square Securities Inc. - Hartford, CT
    - Transouth Financial - Vero Beach, FL
    - Transsouth Financial Inc. (Subsidiary) - Murfreesboro, TN
    - Triton Insurance Co. - Fort Worth, TX
    - Universal Financial Corp. - Salt Lake City, UT



    SECOND WORST BANK/FINANCIAL INSTITUTES: (tie on the Responsible Shopper website between JP Morgan Chase and Fidelity, plus I add Wells Fargo because I think when you take into account some of the specific things they do they are among the worst)

    JP Morgan Chase:

    From Responsible Shopper:

    • JP Morgan Chase & Co. is the third largest US bank. It offers banking and investment services to corporate clients and consumer mortgages, credit cards, and investment management services.

    • Although JP Morgan Chase has received praise for promoting diversity and discouraging discrimination, and was among the top 10 choices for "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" and one of the "Best Companies for Women of Color" the company also received a grade of 'C-' from the NAACP on their Economic Reciprocity Initiative report.

    • JP Morgan Chase has engaged in positive community development projects, such as its $150 million program to promote economic revitalization in Harlem.

    • JP Morgan Chase & Co. has been criticized for financing development projects that put the environment at risk.


    Affiliates: (again, US and Canada only and only if "Chase" or "JP Morgan" is not in the name)

    - Banc One Brokerage Intl. Corp. - Chicago, IL
    - Banc One Equipment Finance (Subsidiary) - Indianapolis, IN
    - Banc One Equipment Finance (Subsidiary) - Indianapolis, IN
    - Banc One Insurance Agency - Milwaukee, WI
    - Banc One Insurance Services Corp. - Milwaukee, WI
    - Banc One Investment Advisors Corp. - Columbus, OH
    - Banc One Kentucky Corporation - Louisville, KY
    - Banc One Leasing Corporation (Subsidiary) - Columbus, OH
    - Banc One Life Insurance Co. - Milwaukee, WI
    - Banc One Management & Consulting Corp. - Dallas, TX
    - Banc One Securities - Columbus, OH
    - Banc One Services Corporation - Columbus, OH
    - Banc One Vehicle Leasing Co. - Lexington, KY
    - Bank One - Downers Grove, IL
    - Bank One - Milwaukee, WI
    - Bank One - Oklahoma City, OK
    - Bank One - Troy, MI
    - Bank One Arizona Leasing Corp. - Phoenix, AZ
    - Bank One Community Development - Columbus, OH
    - Bank One Corporation - Columbus, OH
    - Bank One Credit Company - Albuquerque, NM
    - Bank One Ohio Corporation - Columbus, OH
    - Bank One Securities Corp. - Columbus, OH
    - Bank One Trust Co., NA - Milwaukee, WI
    - Bank One Trust Company, N.A. - Columbus, OH
    - Bank One Utah NA (Subsidiary) - Salt Lake City, UT
    - Bank One, Arizona, NA - Phoenix, AZ
    - Bank One, Colorado, N.A. - Denver, CO
    - Bank One, Illinois, N.A. (Subsidiary) - Springfield, IL
    - Bank One, Indiana, N.A. - Indianapolis, IN
    - Bank One, Indiana, N.A. - Merrillville, IN
    - Bank One, Kentucky, NA (Subsidiary) - Louisville, KY
    - Bank One, Louisiana, N.A. - Baton Rouge, LA
    - Bank One, N.A. (Subsidiary) - Venice, FL
    - Bank One, N.A. - Dallas, TX
    - Bank One, N.A. - Dayton, OH
    - Bank One, N.A. - New Orleans, LA
    - Bank One, NA - Chicago, IL
    - Bank One, Wisconsin - Milwaukee, WI
    - Bonnet Resources Corp. - Dallas, TX
    - Central Bank of Monroe - Monroe, LA
    - Colson Service Corp. - New York, NY
    - First Chicago International Finance Corporation - Chicago, IL
    - First Chicago Leasing Corp. - Chicago, IL
    - First USA Bank N.A. - Wilmington, DE
    - First USA Capital Markets, Inc. - Dallas, TX
    - Fleming Asset Management (Canada), Inc. - Toronto, Canada
    - Fleming Martin Inc. (Subsidiary) - New York, NY
    - Heat Asset Acqusition Corp. - New York, NY
    - Liberty Bank & Trust Company of Tulsa - Tulsa, OK
    - Liberty Property Management Co. - Oklahoma City, OK
    - Mid-America Leasing Corp. - Oklahoma City, OK
    - Morgan Guaranty International Finance Corporation - Newark, DE
    - National Waterworks, Inc. - Waco, TX
    - NBD Equity Corp. - Detroit, MI
    - Octagon Credit Investors Llc - New York, NY
    - One Equity Partners LLC - Chicago, IL
    - Park Central 789 Realty Holdings (Division) - Dallas, TX
    - Payment Tech (Subsidiary) - Dallas, TX
    - Paymentech, Inc. - Dallas, TX
    - Polaroid Canada Inc. - Mississauga, Canada
    - Polaroid Corporation (Subsidiary) - Cambridge, MA
    - Polaroid Corporation - Waltham, MA
    - Polaroid Digital Solutions, Inc. - Palm Coast, FL
    - Polaroid Education Program - New York, NY
    - Polaroid Latin America Corporation (Subsidiary) - Miami, FL
    - Systems & Services Technologies, Inc. - Saint Joseph, MO
    - Tribon Solutions Inc. (Subsidiary) - Annapolis, MD
    - Tumble Forms Inc. - Dolgeville, NY



    Fidelity:

    From Responsible Shopper:

    • Fidelity Investments provides a variety of financial services and products including mutual fund management, long-term investments, offshore investments and insurance product funds.

    • Alleged financial scandals, war profiteering, human rights violations, and environmental destruction have marred Fidelity's reputation.

    • Fidelity has favored corporate management when voting on issues of social responsibility, climate change, and corporate governance, failing to promote corporate responsibility on these issues with the companies they hold.


    No known affiliates


    Wells Fargo: no one argues that Wells Fargo is pretty bad. But Responsible Shopper rates it better than I do. But recently revelations about Wells Fargo seem to portray them as worse than most. They were one of the banks that targeted American veterans for predatory lending, which seems particularly vile to me and is one reason I put them lower than Responsible Shopper. They also are, along with Bank of America, Chase and Citibank, the target of the most customer service complaints with the Comptroller of the Currency. So I place them tied among the second worst banks and financial institutions.

    From Responsible Shopper:

    • Wells Fargo offers consumer and business banking and investment services from over 5,400 locations nationwide and ranks fifth among US banks.

    • Critics, including ACORN, charge that Wells Fargo's financing model could cost investors heavily in the long term, as the bank's investments in destructive projects lead to social unrest and contribute to climate change.

    • Investors have accused Wells Fargo of violating the Fair Housing Act and using predatory measures when lending to minority and low-income borrowers.


    Affiliates: (only ones that don't include "Wells Fargo" in their names)

    - Accordia (Division) - West Palm Beach, FL
    - Acordia - Atlanta, GA
    - Acordia - Champaign, IL
    read more

    - Acordia - Champaign, IL
    - Acordia - Clearwater, FL
    - Acordia - Minneapolis, MN
    - Acordia - Morristown, NJ
    - Acordia Employers Service Corp. West Virginia (Subsidiary) - Charleston, WV
    - Acordia Inc. (Subsidiary) - Pikeville, KY
    - Acordia National Inc. (Division) - Charleston, WV
    - Acordia Northeast - Morristown, NJ
    - Acordia Northwest - Seattle, WA
    - Acordia of California Inc. (Subsidiary) - Grass Valley, CA
    - Acordia of Cincinnati Inc. (Subsidiary) - Cincinnati, OH
    - Acordia of Colorado (Division) - Colorado Springs, CO
    - Acordia of Illinois Inc. (Subsidiary) - Schaumburg, IL
    - Acordia of Indiana Inc. (Subsidiary) - Fort Wayne, IN
    - Acordia of Indiana LLC - Elkhart, IN
    - Acordia of Michigan (Subsidiary) - Grand Rapids, MI
    - Acordia of Michigan Inc. - Southfield, MI
    - Acordia of Ohio - Youngstown, OH
    - Acordia of Ohio Inc. (Subsidiary) - Cleveland, OH
    - Acordia of Phoenix Inc. (Subsidiary) - Phoenix, AZ
    - Acordia of Virginia Inc. (Subsidiary) - Alexandria, VA
    - Acordia West Texas Agency Inc. (Subsidiary) - Lubbock, TX
    - Acordia West Virginia Inc. - Charleston, WV
    - Acordia, Inc. (Division) - Erie, PA
    - Acordia, Inc. (Division) - Minneapolis, MN
    - Allied Business Systems Inc. (Division) - Macon, GA
    - Aman Collection Service Inc. (Subsidiary) - Aberdeen, SD
    - American Excess Surplus Insurance Brokers of N.Y. - New York, NY
    - American Land Title Company Inc. - Omaha, NE
    - ATI Title - West Des Moines, IA
    - Carson Industries (Subsidiary) - Napoleon, OH
    - Carson Industries LLC (Subsidiary) - Glendora, CA
    - Eastdil Realty Inc. (Subsidiary) - New York, NY
    - Fidelity Financial Services - Hales Corners, WI
    - First Allied Securities Inc. (Subsidiary) - San Diego, CA
    - Foothill Capital Corporation - Santa Monica, CA
    - Galliard Capital Management - Minneapolis, MN
    - General Insurance Agency - Deming, NM
    - H.D. Vest Advisory Services Inc. - Irving, TX
    - H.D. Vest Financial Services - Irving, TX
    - H.D. Vest Inc. - Irving, TX
    - H.D. Vest Investment Securities Inc. - Irving, TX
    - Island Finance Puerto Rico - San Juan, PR
    - Lowry Hill Investment Advisors, Inc. (Subsidiary) - Minneapolis, MN
    - Machigonne Benefit Administrators - Portland, ME
    - Machigonne Inc. (Subsidiary) - South Portland, ME
    - Marquette Bank (Subsidiary) - Chicago, IL
    - Marquette Community Dev Corp. - Chicago, IL
    - MSC Mortgage - Sarasota, FL
    - National Bancorp of Alaska, Inc. (Subsidiary) - Anchorage, AK
    - Norwest Bank Arizona, N.A. - Phoenix, AZ
    - Norwest Bank Colorado NA - Parker, CO
    - Norwest Bank Faribault, N.A. (Subsidiary) - Faribault, MN
    - Norwest Bank Grand Junction NA - Grand Junction, CO
    - Norwest Bank Illinois, N.A. - Galesburg, IL
    - Norwest Bank Minnesota N.A. - Minneapolis, MN
    - Norwest Bank Minnesota Southwest, N.A. - Marshall, MN
    - Norwest Bank North Dakota, N.A. - Fargo, ND
    - Norwest Bank Wyoming, N.A. - Casper, WY
    - Norwest Equity Partners - Minneapolis, MN
    - Norwest Financial Indiana Inc. (Subsidiary) - Griffith, IN
    - Norwest Home Improvement, Inc. - Concord, CA
    - Norwest Properties, Inc. (Subsidiary) - Minneapolis, MN
    - Norwest Venture Capital Management, Inc. (Subsidiary) - Minneapolis, MN
    - Pacific Northwest Bancorp (Subsidiary) - Seattle, WA
    - Peregrine Capital Management, Inc. (Subsidiary) - Minneapolis, MN
    - Prime Bancshares Inc. (Subsidiary) - Houston, TX
    - Ragen Mackenzie Group Incorporated - Seattle, WA
    - Ragen Mackenzie Investments - Seattle, WA
    - Rural Community Insurance Services - Anoka, MN
    - Servus Financial Corporation - Sterling, VA
    - The Foothill Group, Inc. (Subsidiary) - Santa Monica, CA
    - Trans Canada Credit Corporation - Etobicoke, Canada



    OTHER BELOW AVERAGE:

    Vanguard: also below average but better than the institutions I list above

    From Responsible Shopper:

    • The Vanguard Group is one of the largest investment companies in the world and has acquired nearly a trillion dollars in total assets thanks to its consistent investing in some of the world's largest, and often least sustainable, companies.

    • Vanguard has been scrutinized for financing corporations that operate in war-torn areas such as the Sudan, providing a reliable income source for corrupt governments.

    • Vanguard fails to use its proxies to support climate resolutions at companies it holds.


    Affiliates: none known


    BETTER BANKS: These are the ones to consider switching to. Divesting from Bank of America, Citibank, Chase, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Fidelity and Vanguard as well as their affiliates sends a clear message. But where to put your money? There are alternatives.

    First, there are two banks that are rated by Responsible Shopper as being among the better...though keep in mind they are still at best "average" in their ratings. But it is worth noting that they are better than the targets I mention and for some people they may be the best option. I personally wouldn't use them but each person has a different need and I'd rather people use Suntrust or Wachovia than the worst banks.

    Suntrust: average ratings

    From Responsible Shopper:

    • SunTrust operates 1,600 branches mostly in the southeast U.S. from which it offers retail and commercial banking services, as well as trust services, mutual funds, credit cards and mortgage banking.

    • SunTrust’s investment policies and ties to other corporations have raised questions about its social responsibility.

    • Leaders of SunTrust and Coca-Cola have a close relationship, making SunTrust a prime target for human rights campaigns against Coke.

    • SunTrust fell under fire from the Securities and Exchange Commission for failing to clearly explain to the public how the company pays its five top executives.


    Affiliates: (only ones that don't have "SunTrust" in their name)

    Capitoline Investment Services, Inc. - Richmond, VA
    - Trusco Capital Management - Atlanta, GA



    Wachovia: (average ratings)

    From Responsible Shopper:

    • Wachovia ranks fourth among banking giants in the US, and offers corporate and consumer banking services from over 3,400 branch locations.

    • Wachovia has faced criticism for excessive executive pay, as well as accounting irregularities and questionable ethics following mergers and acquisitions.

    • Wachovia is implicated in investing in coal and coal fired power plants.


    Affiliates: (only ones that don't have "Wachovia" in their names)

    - Atlantic Savings Bank FSB - Hilton Head Island, SC
    - Cameron M. Harris & Co. Inc. - Charlotte, NC
    - Charter Asset Management Inc. - Richmond, VA
    - Charter Asset Management Inc. - Richmond, VA
    - Educaid - Sacramento, CA
    - Evergreen Asset Management - Malvern, PA
    - Evergreen Investment Services - Boston, MA
    - Evergreen Investment Services - Charlotte, NC
    - Fairfax County Redevelopment (Subsidiary) - Fairfax, VA
    - Financial Life Insurance Co. of Georgia - Atlanta, GA
    - First Union Brokerage Services, Inc. (Subsidiary) - Charlotte, NC
    - First Union Corp. - Philadelphia, PA
    - First Union Corporation - Greenville, SC
    - First Union Corporation - Richmond, VA
    - First Union Development Corp. - Charlotte, NC
    - First Union Futures Corp. - Charlotte, NC
    - First Union Rail Corporation (Subsidiary) - Rosemont, IL
    - First Union Securities Inc. - Glen Allen, VA
    - First Union Securities Inc. - Richmond, VA
    - First Union Security - Chicago, IL
    - First Union Title Corporation - Charlotte, NC
    - McGlinn Capital Management (Subsidiary) - Reading, PA
    - Mentor Investment Group - Richmond, VA
    - Professional Direct Agency - Columbus, OH
    - Riazzi Rhyne & Goodson (Subsidiary) - Winston Salem, NC
    - Sonitrol Corporation - Alexandria, VA
    - South Carolina National Corporation - Columbia, SC
    - Tryon Management Inc. - Charlotte, NC



    My Favorites: These are ones I have personal experience with and like them. I like their customer service. Their fees seem reasonable. They are convenient. And they did no predatory lending.

    USAA: this company is well known for their integrity and good customer service. They work with veterans and their families.

    TD Bank: A Canadian bank that has become a part of the banking industry in many states. They did no predatory lending and all my experiences with them have been positive. Working with them reminds me of the quality of banking service back when I was a kid dealing with a local neighborhood bank. Because their customers are generally satisfied and because they did no predatory lending, they have fared much better as a company than banks like Chase and Bank of America, whose stocks have tanked and who needed bailouts paid for by taxpayers to survive. In a REAL free market, TD Bank would have survived while Chase and Bank of America would have gone under. But in Republican Crony Capitalism, Chase and Bank of America get government funded breaks to survive.


    THE BEST: These are the ones that Green America and Daily Kos favor. I will say that they may not be the most convenient for everyone, but they are the best options if they work for you.

    From Green America:

    if you want to put your money where your values are...

    Choose a community development bank or credit union

    Did you know that your checking account can generate capital for affordable housing projects? Did you know that your CDs can create funds for job development in low-income communities?

    Community development banks and credit unions operate very much like their traditional counterparts, but these institutions focus on funding economic development in low- and moderate-income areas.

    You can open a checking account, savings account, money market account, or CD in one of these banks or credit unions; accounts are federally insured up to $100,000. See our Community Investing Resource Center to find a bank or credit union near you, or find community investing financial institutions in the National Green Pages.

    Learn more about community investing

    Look for responsible credit cards

    We’re happy to tell you that a few responsible banks and credit unions are offering credit cards that can be a force for change. Check out our recent issue of Real Green that walks you through the options so you’ll know which credit cards to avoid and which will work best for you and for the planet.

    Check out socially responsible investing

    Integrating your personal, social, and environmental concerns with your financial considerations is called socially responsible investing (SRI). SRI helps you meet your financial goals while ensuring that your investments have a positive impact on people and the planet. Whether you’re just getting started with a simple savings account or you have a highly diversified portfolio of investments, you can be a social investor.

    Some of the most popular social investing vehicles are socially screened mutual funds. Screening describes the inclusion or exclusion of corporate securities in investment portfolios based on social or environmental criteria. Socially concerned investors generally seek to own profitable companies with respectable employee relations, strong records of community involvement, excellent environmental impact policies and practices, respect for human rights around the world, and safe and useful products. They also will try to avoid investments in those firms that fall short in these areas. Some examples of issues used by SRI funds in screens include: alcohol, tobacco, defense weapons, animal testing, environment, human rights, labor relations, employment/equality, community investing, and proxy voting.

    Socially screened mutual funds are often industry leaders on issues of disclosure and proxy voting.

    Green America is one of the leading sources of information about socially responsible purchasing and investing. For individual investors, we publish the Guide to Socially Responsible Investing, a comprehensive guide to understanding investing for you, your family, and the future of the planet. We also publish Real Green, our popular bi-monthly newsletter packed with tips and ideas for green living, purchasing, and investing.

    Both of these resources are free with membership. Join Green America now.


    If we are the 99%, then where we put our money makes a HUGE difference. You have the power. Make your choice where you put your money. I hope this article helps.


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