Climate First Bank: Is It a Good Fossil Free Bank?

Large banks continue to be big lenders to the fossil fuel industry. Despite the 2015 Paris Agreement, fossil fuel financing is up versus five years ago. However, more startup banks are promising not to finance oil and gas extraction. Climate First Bank is one such lender.

SustainFi August 11, 2021

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Rating: Fair (2.9 / 5)

Pros

  • A carbon-neutral bank that doesn’t invest in fossil fuels
  • Solar and electric/hybrid vehicle loans offered

Cons

  • Very low APYs
  • No interest on the no-fee checking account
  • A single branch
  • The ATM network is Florida-based

Summary

CredentialsB Corp (pending), GABV
Impact areasClimate change
Minimum balance$0
Account maintenance fees• Checking: $0
• Interest Checking: $15 / month (waived with a daily minimum balance of $2,500)
• Savings: $5 / month (waived with a daily minimum balance of $200)
• Money market: $15 / month (waived with a daily minimum balance of $5,000)
APY• Checking: none
• Interest checking: up to 0.15%
• Savings: up to 0.10%
• Money market: up to 0.30%
ATMsOver 1,000 Presto! ATM locations at Publix stores
AppApple Store Rating: 5 / 5 (2 reviews)
Accounts offered• Checking and savings accounts
• Money market accounts
• Health savings accounts
• Certificates of deposit
• IRAs
LocationsSt Petersburg, Florida

What is Climate First Bank?

Climate First Bank is a newly launched bank focusing on environmental sustainability. Based in St Petersburg, Florida, the bank is a member of the GABV and is waiting to be certified as a B Corp.

Climate First has committed to being carbon neutral and never investing in oil and gas extraction. As part of its climate mission, Climate First offers auto loans for electric and hybrid vehicles as well as solar loans.

The bank is led by veteran banker Ken LaRoe, who previously launched and sold First Green Bank, also in Florida.

Climate First offers checking and savings accounts, money markets accounts, certificates of deposits, and IRAs. Any account will also give you access to Climate First’s budgeting tools.

Climate First Checking Account

  • No minimum balance
  • No monthly service fee
  • Doesn’t pay interest
  • E-statements required or $5 for paper statement
  • Access to the Presto ATM network (over 1,000 ATMs in Florida)

The basic checking account doesn’t pay interest, but there is no minimum balance requirement or a monthly service fee.

The checking account comes with a debit card with access to the Presto ATM network, largely in Publix stores in Florida. You also get access to mobile banking, including check deposits, through the app. (The app is rated 5 out of 5 in the Apple Store, but with only two ratings.)

Climate First Interest Checking Account

  • $15 monthly fee, waived with a daily minimum balance of $2,500
  • Up to 0.15% APY
  • E-statements required or $5 for paper statement
  • Access to the Presto ATM network (over 1,000 ATMs in Florida)
  • Free checks

The interest checking account is similar to the checking account, except for interest and a monthly service fee if you have less than $2,500 deposited. The account does pay interest, but the rate is very low. (Compare it to up to 1% APY you can get from Aspiration, a fossil free neobank.)

Average Account BalanceAPY
$5,000-$99,9990.05%
$100,000-$249,9990.10%
> $250,0000.15%

Accurate as of 8/3/2021

Climate First Savings Account

  • $5 monthly service fee, waived with a daily minimum balance of $200
  • Up to 0.10% APY
  • E-statements required or $5 for paper statement

The savings account pays interest, but the rates are, again, very low. You can get a much higher rate from other socially responsible or fossil free banks, including up to 1% from Aspiration and up to 0.51% from ATMOS Financial.

Average Account BalanceAPY
< $49,9990.05%
> $50,0000.10%

Accurate as of 8/3/2021

Climate First Money Market Account

  • $15 monthly service fee, waived with daily minimum balance of $5,000
  • Up to 0.30% APY
  • E-statements required or $5 for paper statement

The money market account pays up to 0.30% APY. The $15 / month service fee is waived with a minimum balance of $5,000.

Average Account BalanceAPY
$5,000-$49,9990.05%
$50,000-$99,9990.10%
$100,000-$249,9990.20%
> $250,0000.30%

Accurate as of 8/3/2021

Is Climate First Bank safe? Are deposits FDIC-insured?

Climate First Bank is a bank that has been approved by the FDIC. All accounts are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000.

💰 Takeaway

  • Climate First Bank is green banking alternative aimed at Florida residents
  • The bank is carbon-neutral and won’t fund fossil fuels
  • However, APYs are very low and more comparable to traditional banks. You can get much higher rates from green neobanks Aspiration or ATMOS

Climate First Bank vs. Aspiration

If you are looking for a fossil free bank with extra features and higher rates, Aspiration is a good option. Aspiration is currently offering up to 1% APY, a highly rated mobile app, and perks like rounding your change to plant trees. Read the review here.

Other fossil free options include Amalgamated Bank, ATMOS Financial, and Ando Money.

🔔 Interested in other sustainable bank accounts? Check out our guide.

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